Thursday, 29 September 2011

Crafting Around the World with the Kuretake ZIG Design Team! Kim Dellow Interview


We're ever so lucky to have such a diverse and talented group of crafters on the Kuretake ZIG Design Team.  Our DT members are based all over the world and create amazing work with our range of pens and craft materials.

We'd like tell you more about these wonderful people and also find out a bit more about crafting in the countries they live in.  So, we'll be running a "Crafting Around the World" series of interviews and tutorials on the ZIG blog! Each interview will be followed up with a guest tutorial from our Design Team members featuring their very favourite ZIG products.

Friday, 23 September 2011

ZIG Links

Here are our top links of the week... 

Getting Back to Normal (Kuretake alcohol inks)- Crafty Drake

Shrink Your Stamped Images, Selfmade Charms for Jewellery - Stamping with a Whiff of Joy

Fun with Fabric - Crafty Makes

Beary Cold - Saskia Imbert  

Feeling Krafty - Jo Kill 

Scrapbooking - Peices of Christmas - Erin Bassett

Visibility - Blue Birdie

September 2011 Favourite - Kuretake No. 13 pen - Jetpens blog 

Great Canadian Scrapbook Carnival - My Sweet Earth

Techniques with ZIG Marker pens - Scribblers

Metallic Embossed Halloween Treat Bags - K.Becca

It's Arrived - Fordie Fresh 

Art Mesa Madrid 2012 - Cuchy

Princess for 1 Day - Stamping with a Whiff of Joy

September "Waste Materials" -  Ceciscrap

Have a great weekend! :)

Get in touch with me on Facebook

The ZIG Interview: Calligrapher Jane Farr

Love calligraphy or want to get started?  We've caught up with Calligrapher extraordinaire, Jane Farr, to ask her all about the tricks of the trade....

Jane demonstrating Calligraphy at Macy's

Hi Jane, tell us a little bit about yourself....

I was born and raised in Indiana and am a graduate of Purdue University. I live in the Indianapolis area with my wonderful husband of 26 years.  We have a daughter and a son, both who attend Purdue University.  I am a professional calligrapher working out of my home studio. I do all types of calligraphy - broad edge, pointed pen, brush, etc., although most of my work is done for weddings. Initially, calligraphy was just a hobby. My family and I owned and operated a business that sold traffic signal equipment. In 2002, after twenty years in business, we sold the company. I've been practicing calligraphy more seriously since then.

At what age did you become interested in lettering?
I remember passing notes with my friends in middle school. There was a period when we all tried to get rather inventive with our handwriting and especially creative with our signatures. Although it would be twenty years before I truly became interested in calligraphy, I think that is my first recollection of enjoying lettering.

Calligraphy with ZIG Journal & Title

How did you get into Calligraphy, did you study it professionally?
I came to calligraphy via rubberstamping.  In the  mid 90's, I was really into making greeting cards with rubberstamps. I couldn't always find a rubberstamp that said what I wanted to say, and my handwriting was horrible.  In the fall of 1997, I saw my local parks department was offering a beginning calligraphy course, I registered. I loved it, and I was hooked. Unfortunately, my everyday handwriting is still pretty terrible.

ZIG Calligraphy Metallics - amazing on black card!

You do lots of different styles of calligraphy, which would be the best for a beginner to start out with?
Aside from monoline alphabets, I think a beginner would best benefit from first learning the Foundational alphabet. One of the basic shapes of Foundational is a circle, which is easy to understand and visualize.  Foundational is a minuscule, or lower case, alphabet.

Jane creates beautiful flourishes with different ZIG Memory System pens

What’s been your favourite project so far?
Creating custom wedding certificates are my favorite commissions.  Learning about the bride and groom and finding a way to incorporate their unique qualities into a document that will be treasured for a lifetime are very gratifying to me.  

Whats your creation and design process?
It depends. If it is a commission and the client has very specific criteria, then I start with those elements first.  If I am creating a noncommissioned piece, then I usually start by choosing the text.  I think of a style, or styles, of lettering that expresses the content, and I begin sketching rough layout ideas. I put my layouts aside for a few hours or a day. I will then go back with a fresh eye and choose one, or I sometimes combine part of one with part of another. I then create a rough draft, working out nib size, spacing, and any problem areas. Sometimes it takes several rough drafts before I am ready to do the final piece. For large pieces, I will often make two or three final drafts.  I then choose the best version.  Knowing I will have several drafts from which to choose helps me relax mentally.  I am less tense as I work, and my lettering flows better.  The bonus is I get to keep the other drafts for future reference.

Lettering with ZIG Vellum Writer

What inspires you?
The written word - mostly scripture, but also thought provoking quotes and poetry. I am also inspired by calligraphers from around the world. Even though I cannot always translate or fully understand the text, I can appreciate the skill and quality of the lettering.

What do you enjoy most about being a calligrapher?
I enjoy the process of learning new things and trying to master them.  There's always more to learn!

ZIG Calligraphy Metallics

What’s your favourite Kuretake ZIG pen,  and why?
Do I have to choose?!! Truly, it's like asking a chef to choose their favorite knife. It depends on what I'm trying to accomplish.

For traditional broad edged lettering: ZIG Calligraphy
For brush lettering: ZIG Clean Color Real Brush
For tackling a big stack of envelopes for birthday cards: ZIG Journal & Title
For working on dark envelopes: ZIG Calligraphy Metallic Colours
For adding sparkle to off-hand flourishing: ZIG Wink of Stella
For intricate design work, Zentangles or Leaf Script: ZIG Millennium

I rely on ZIG pens, because I know I can trust them to give me good color and consistent form.  

How do ZIG pens come into your work?
I use ZIG Calligraphy pens quite a bit for the volunteer work I do for the Ronald McDonald House and area churches.  I have even used ZIG pens for envelope jobs. They are also great for demonstrating calligraphy at community events, such as making free bookmarks for people with their names on them. ZIG Calligraphy pens are excellent for teaching beginners. They are also wonderful for practice. ZIG pens are very portable, and I can practice in a waiting room or during a long car trip. 

Lettering with ZIG Clean Color Real Brush

I love looking at your wedding blog, it must be wonderful to be a part of so many happy couples special day.
I love working with brides, grooms, and their families.  I often work with the brides and/or their mothers for the invitations, but many times it is the father-of-the-bride that will come to pick up the calligraphy pieces for the reception. Time is short and they are often given the last minute courier duties. I find the father-of-the-brides endearing, and I enjoy hearing their perspective on all the wedding festivities.

What are the current trends in Calligraphy, do they change frequently?
Currently, pointed pen and script alphabets seem more popular than broad edge alphabets and not just for wedding clients. Trends do change, especially color combinations for wedding work. Lately, I have had many inquiries for white ink on tan or kraft envelopes and also gray ink on yellow envelopes. Last year it was olive green, and before that was chocolate. Plum also had its day.  However, black ink is still far and away my most requested color. Black is classic elegance.

Calligraphy with ZIG Journal & Title

Are you currently working on anything you can tell us about?
I am currently working on three different projects. One is a poem for an anniversary gift, the second is a passage of scripture for a birthday gift, and the last is a cafe chair for a charity silent auction.  Lettering on a chair is a first for me!

I’m learning to write Calligraphy and sometimes I’m concentrating so hard on the shape of the letters I spell a word completely wrong! Do these little mistakes ever happen to you? How do you cope if you make an error half way through a large piece of work?
I'm so happy to know you're studying and practicing calligraphy! Aaah. It sounds as though Titivillus, the patron demon of scribes, has paid you a visit.  Actually, it is quite common for calligraphers to make spelling errors for the very reason you mention.  Correcting mistakes is part of the process, and it is important to learn how to do it.  That is another reason why finding good one-on-one instruction is so important. Some mistakes cannot be corrected, and you must do the piece over again.  In those instances, it is a blessing to have prepared more than one final draft.

Question from our Twitter follower @Laudascrap...
Do you have any advice for left handed calligraphers?
Yes! Gaynor Goffe is a calligrapher from the UK, and she is well respected the world over.  She is one of many amazing, left-handed calligraphers.  You can find her notes on this very subject here:

Which other Calligraphers work do you admire?
Too many to mention them all, but I greatly admire Sheila Waters, John Stevens, and Luca Barcelona for always keeping their work first and foremost about well constructed letters.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I would encourage your readers interested in calligraphy to find a guild or society near them.  The lettering arts community is one of the most giving and sharing communities you will find. Don't deny yourself the joy of creating beautiful letters!

A huge thank you to Jane for talking to us!  You can follow Jane's Calligraphy blog here, and her Wedding Calligraphy blog here!

For more info about ZIG Calligraphy pens take a look at our Tips & Techniques blog post or visit our website

Get in touch with me on Facebook!

Friday, 16 September 2011

ZIG Links

Happy Friday Everyone!

Hope that this week has been a good one for you. Here are the links we've enjoyed the most this week.......

What's on my mind today - Blue Birdie 

Interview with Sarah Whitmire - Alpha Stamps

Dreaming....about an altered book page - My Sweet Earth

Kuretake Spotlight 3 - Amanoamano di Miria 

Fun with Alcohol Ink - Artsyille

He's Behind You - That's Life 

Another Hero Arts September Challenge - Irma Peredne

Card Week, Part 1 - Sketch Support

Have a great weekend!

Get in touch with me on Facebook!

Calligraphy pens de Kuretake (Spanish video tutorial) - Ceciscrap

Birthday Greetings - Yvonne's Scrapblog

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Kuretake Alcohol Inks on Create & Craft TV!

Crafting with Kuretake is back on Create & Craft TV today!

Tune in at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm for some more amazing ZIG tips and Techniques with our Marketing Manager Steph.

Here's a sneak peak at what's on the shows...

3pm & 7pm - Kurecolor Alcohol Inks & Markers!

We'll be debuting our new look Kurecolor Alcohol Inks, perfect for creating a distressed look for your craft projects. 

Kurecolor Ink is:
  • Acid Free
  • Permanent
  • Fast drying
  • Can be used on a huge range of different surfaces including acetate, glass, plastic, metal, foil, shrink wrap and more!

Kurecolor Ink Bottles can also be used to refill our Kurecolor markers!

Tune in at 5pm for a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE Extravaganza!

Featuring: Kurepunches, ZIG Painty's and ZIG Opaque Writers

Look out for the amazing projects done by our lovely Design Team ladies Sarah Hurley, Kim Dellow, Dee Paramour, Emma Williams, Tracie Steeley, Jo Williams and we even have some samples sent over from Luxembourg DT member Jaine Drake!

Kurecolor Ink set

More details on any of the products on today's shows can be found on our website and the Create & Craft website

Create & Craft TV is on Sky 67, Freeview 36, Freesat 813 or you can watch live on the website!

Steph is presenting the shows but I'll be on hand on Twitter & Facebook to help with any questions.

Hope you can tune in for some messy fun!

Get in touch with me on Facebook!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The ZIG Interview: Illustrator Gemma Correll


Welcome to the very first ZIG Blog artist interview! We're making a strong start with an exclusive interview with the massively talented Gemma Correll!!

  We like Gemma's work, a lot. Who could fail to be tickled by her super-cute, witty illustrations? What's more, she creates them with Kuretake pens! AND she has a pug! (always a bonus in my book)

Hi Gemma, tell us a little about yourself….

Well, let’s see... I live in the self-proclaimed “fine city” of Norwich. I am quite short and I have very bad eyesight, which resulted in my having to wear some pretty awful glasses as a child. Plus I had a bowl haircut. Actually, those glasses are probably for sale in American Apparel now....

How would you describe your illustration style?
It’s pretty simple and fairly graphic with a naive edge. I once read on somebody’s blog that my characters are “the perfect mix of ugly and cute” which is probably about right. I suppose you could call it funny, although perhaps more funny peculiar than funny ha-ha.

© Gemma Correll

A tweeted question from @BEC_lou_MAC...
What inspired your drawing style?
I think it just naturally developed over time with a huge range of influences over the years, from the cartoonists Giles and Posey Simmonds when I was a kid, to pop art, The Far Side and japanese characters when I was a teenager. Then at art college, I discovered illustrators like Tom Gauld and Sara Fanelli. It’s hard to pinpoint any one specific inspiration.

A tweeted question from @Claireyes19...
Where is the most inspiring place for you to draw?
I like drawing in coffee shops, but I have to have a seat where nobody can see what I’m drawing... and it has to be good coffee.

Who are your favourite artists?
There are so many that it would be nearly impossible to list them all, but some of them are: Marc Johns, Lizzy Stewart, Liza Donnelly, Tom Gauld, Kate Beaton, Sophia Martineck, Nora Krug, Ana Albero, Camilla Engman and Sandra Juto.

Favourite Kuretake ZIG pen, and why?
I think I’d have to choose the Brush Writer II pen - I love using it to colour my inked drawings. It’s like using watercolour but so much easier.... watercolour for idiots like me.

© Gemma Correll

How do you use Kuretake pens in your work?
I work in quite a straightforward way.  I draw in my sketchbook a lot, for which I use Millennium pens. Then I’ll use a Millennium pen for my linework and a Brush Writer II or Clean colour pen for colouring.

© Gemma Correll

Did anything about Kuretake ZIG pens surprise you?
Well, I am very fussy about pens, so I was just pleased to find so many good ones!

What’s your studio/working area like?
I share a studio with my fiance, Anthony, who is also an illustrator. It’s a room in our apartment, and it’s where we spend most of our time, so it can get a little messy, to say the least, but it’s also a really fun place to work- we drink coffee and eat snacks (our favourite this week is vegetable crisps) and listen to music (although we don’t always agree on that). Plus, of course, Mr Pickles is there too to entertain us.

A tweeted question from @moodycat...  
Do you find it difficult working alone rather than in a studio and only having yourself for inspiration?
Well, I share my studio with Anthony (my fiancé) so I’m not entirely alone - and Mr Pickles is always there to keep me company too ... but I’m quite happy with my own company anyway, to be honest. I collect inspiration in my head when I go out into the real world, and when I listen to music, or watch TV.

Your designs can be found on loads of products around the world.  If you could see a design of yours on any product, what would it be?I'd really like to make one of those plastic collectable figurines.  Maybe a whole set of them. A plastic family of Pugs perhaps.

© Gemma Correll

Your project “What I wore today” has inspired many artists, what are your plans for these illustrations?
It’s going to be a book! I’ve just finished working on it and it’s gone off to be printed. It’s a kind of journal, with templates and prompts for the reader to draw and write about their daily/seasonal outfits. It also features a few of the images from the “What I Wore Today” Flickr group- and some pics of Mr Pickles too, of course. It will be released by Octopus Publishing in March 2012.

© Gemma Correll

We have something in common, as pug owners!  How is Mr Pickles and is he always a help in your creative process?
Mr Pickles is fine, he’d like to meet Gertie I think! He is usually a help, although sometimes he’ll want to play when I’m trying to get work done. It’s hard to resist that face though!

© Gemma Correll

What advice would you give to 16 year old you?
Don’t worry, it’s all going to be OK. In 10 years, wearing those glasses will actually be trendy and you will be an illustrator!

© Gemma Correll

You have an impressive Twitter following.  If you could have any one person following you (dead or alive), who would it be?
Bill Bryson. Not sure that he even has Twitter though.

What’s your top tip for other Illustrators using social networking to promote their work?
Don’t get too carried away with it. Use Twitter, Facebook, etc. to your advantage but don’t spend all day on there - you won’t get any work done.

I’ve heard that there are people with tattoos of your illustrations?  Must be quite strange!?
Yes, it’s strange but incredibly flattering that somebody would want my drawings tattooed on them forever!

© Gemma Correll

A tweeted question from @kellycriedwolf...
Do you ever have those days when your self esteem is on the floor? How do you motivate yourself?
I have those kinds of days fairly regularly. It’s important for me to recognise that I’m just having a bad day - I have to remember that it’s not the end of the world. On days like that, I try to avoid looking at other illustrator’s work (it makes me feel even worse) or spending too much time labouring over an illustration if it’s not really working. I go back to my sketchbook and just draw and write. I write a lot of lists!

Are you currently working on anything you can tell us about?
I’m usually working on several projects at any one time. At the moment, I’m working on a 2013 calendar, some illustrations for a book about craft and a few smaller projects.

Where can people see you work, have you got any exhibitions coming up?
I haven’t got anything planned for the near future, although I’ll be exhibiting at Land gallery in Portland, Oregon, next May. I do quite often take part in group shows though, which I post about on my blog.

A huge thank you to Gemma for talking to us, and also for the amazing blog background that she designed just for us!

Want to find out more about Gemma and her work? Better check out her awesome Website, Blog, Daily Diaries and SHOP!...

Are you one of the lucky twitter followers who's question for Gemma was picked?  Email or DM me and Gemma's favourite pen, the Kuretake Brush Writer II, will be on it's way to you!

Get in touch with me on Facebook!