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Thank you Wreath for delivery Drivers…

Hello lovely friends,

I have a lovey project for you…

I thought it would be wonderful to greet all the post workers and delivery drivers with a Thank You Wreath on our doors.

Here’s mine… rather hurriedly constructed (I’m sure yours will be much better!) It could be made out of paper, loo rolls, twigs, anything! There are loads of ideas on the internet to copy!

I’m lucky enough to live in the countryside, so I foraged twigs and flowers from my garden (and added some false ones in too!)

If you would like to add some fancy lettering, you could cut-out (or copy) mine below… (one for Postmen and one for Postladies!)

Then, once you have printed it out, you might like to decorate it with some pretty flowers. Here’s a reference sheet full of flowers to inspire or copy… especially useful if you are making a drawn paper wreath rather than a twiggy one!

Once decorated and cut out, either stick to your twiggy wreath (I used strong tape to secure to twigs, but any gluey stuff will work!) or attach to your home-crafted one 🙂

Don’t forget to share your wreaths to spread the love on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook… use the hashtag #ThankyouPostiesWreath

I think you will all agree that the delivery folk are keeping us fed, keeping us healthy at home and keeping us occupied.

We are still sending out Starter Kits and additional art supplies and could not keep you all equipped if it were not for our amazing couriers! THANK YOU Post workers and Delivery Drivers WE ARE SO GRATEFUL!! xxxxx

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#JennieMaizelsColourWheel – A Free Project!

I believe strongly that everyone has their own ‘palette’. So when I wondered what to give you all as a thank you for your support and to celebrate the golden 10k mark on Instagram, I decided we should make COLOUR WHEELS!! They make me SO HAPPY, so I can’t wait to spread this joyful, uplifting ‘celebration of colour’ – activity!

Don’t forget to tag me @jenniemaizels and use the hashtag #JennieMaizelsColourWheel so I can share my favourites!! SO EXCITED FOR THIS!!!!

Right, lets get going! First of all let’s make our circle to create our colour wheel. It’s up to you what material you use. You can buy ready cut circles on ebay quite cheaply (40cm X 40cm is a good size) or you could cut it out of carboard (from an old carboard box) – it’s up to you. Once you have your circle, it’s probably a good idea to paint it white first (unless, like me, your card is already white).

Next, choose either a 12 segment or 16 segment circle (if you wish to go a bit more ‘free-style and add more colours) and print out your template…

Place your template in the CENTRE of your circle (find the centre by measuring the circumference and making sure the centre is at half-way point) position with a little tape.

There are two ways of doing this, firstly, you could use a blunt knife (cutlery or butter knife) and start to score lines by using a ruler and following the lines of the template.

Secondly ( this is the best way if you are using wood), you could draw in the lines from the centre with the paper stuck down and then finish the lines with a ruler once the paper is removed (see below image:)

Remember, you could always do this freehand (wobbly is charming!) or add more segments, it’s up to you! Once you have finished, you will now have a guide as to where the colour segments go…

It’s now time to start creating our colour wheel by working our way through the spectrum. We’ll be experimenting as we go in order to create a definitive palette. Creating a colour wheel is a brilliant way of increasing your colour mixing knowledge and discovering new colours you hadn’t investigated before. Plus, they are SO gorgeous displayed at home (here’s mine being appreciated by Charlie)…

Before we start, a note about piant.. I used Acrylic paint because it is plastic based, so wipe clean (great if this is going to be a permanet display in your home). My one tip with acrylics, is because they are plastic based that can be quite transluscent, if you add a dash of white (especially to the yellow) it can give it a bit of depth and make the colours more intense… Hope that helps? 🙂

So, we will be starting with one of my favourite colours, Yellow.

Spend some time, looking at examples online and around your home/work that you are drawn to. Start to mix some yellows, experimenting with different hues.

What happens if we add a dash of green, or white, or even grey? Play around with the multitude of variations and as you go, whenever a colour resonates with you, be sure to make notations as to how you mixed it in your sketchbook/paper.

When you feel you have exhausted all possibilities of yellows. Try to pick a favourite.

This will be the first segment on the colour wheel we will paint. It may take a couple of layers to get a nice smooth even colour.

We will continue this process, working on the following colours in order…

Yellow (as above)

Yellow/Orange

Orange

Orange/Red

Red

Pink

(If you are creating a 16 segment circle, here is where you might like to add White, Grey, Brown and Black – in-between the pink and the purple 🙂 )

Purple

Dark Blue

Mid Blue

Light Blue

Green

Green/Yellow (Lime Green)

Remember, we are not trying to be overly accurate, I added a florescent pnk in mine because I love bright colours, so do make it your own and add any colours you love too!

Don’t forget to tag me @jenniemaizels and use the hashtag #JennieMaizelsColourWheel so I can share my favourites!! SO EXCITED FOR THIS!!!!

I hope this helps you find your own personal ‘palette? Over the many years of teaching and running Sketchbook Club, it is clear to me that each and every one of us has a very distinct and personal palette, we are drawn to *that* green or a certain orangey red etc. It is very obvious as to what my colour palette is, as you can see from my kitchen! 

 

As I mentioned earlier, please don’t forget to tag me @jenniemaizels and use the hashtag #JennieMaizelsColourWheel so I can share my favourites!! I Can’t WAIT to see them all!!! xxxxx

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Sketchbook Club comes to West Yorkshire Police Force!

Last Friday, March 8th, I had the enormous privilege of speaking at the West Yorkshire Police Wellbeing Conference. It was held on International Women’s day and was hosted by the BAWP (British Association for Women in Policing) but there were also plenty of male attendees too.

Not only did I give a talk on how powerful creating is for wellbeing and the benefits of following ‘recipes’ to empower us to create without fear but I also held my own Sketchbook Club workshop right there in the conference room!

With nearly 300 attendees, the Sketchbook Club table was full all day and there were some stunning illustrations being created! It was so lovey seeing how proud everybody was of the work they created. First to sit down, just as doors opened was ‘John’. It took a lot of confidence to dive right in and try something not touched since childhood. John couldn’t believe his work – He was so proud! It bought a tear to my eye when he dedicated his drawing to his children, “They won’t believe I made it!” he said. It’s beautiful John!

John’s painting wasn’t the only thing to bring a tear to my eye during the day. There were lots of incredible speakers, many of whom had been effected by their own battles with mental health and were brave and generous enough to share their experiences for the benefit of others. I have always thought I knew how hard a job being a Police Officer is but the conference really opened my eyes as to just how unthinkable many of the tasks are that the police endure. They are the ones who have to knock on people’s doors and tell them the worst news of their lives. They are the ones who are first at the scene of all accidents and they are at the frontline of domestic and child abuse. It is no wonder that the Police Force are trying to do everything they can to support them emotionally. I was devastated and drained just listening to their stories! I can’t imagine a life where these experiences are not just for real, but are a regular occurrence. I was left completely in awe and with deepest of deep respect.

Thank you for having me West Yorkshire Police! It was a humbling and unforgettable experience. xxx

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Sketchbook Club teams up with The Simple Things Magazine!

How exciting is this!? So thrilled to announce that I am holding a special reader event for the wonderful Simple Things Magazine. It’s going to a wonderful day! Not only will readers complete up to four sketchbook spreads (with more to work on at a home) but will enjoy a yummy lunch with wine and go home with a goodie bag! I can’t wait to meet you all, we only have a few spaces left already, hooray! Thank you so much Simple Things, it’s not often you get to host an event for (genuinely!) your favourite magazine ever 🙂

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Please #DrawACatforEllen in memory of wonderful Ellen…

Yesterday (Nov 10th) we received the terrible news which we had all been dreading. The wonderful Ellen has lost her battle against this horrible, evil, brutal disease. She had recovered fully from Breast Cancer shortly after I met her for the first time, where she came all the way to Stratford to see me ‘perform’ with the Reduced Shakespeare Company.

We had been online friends for a long time before that, she even held one of the first ‘Sketchbook Clubs’ at her children’s School. She was always so incredibly supportive and encouraging. Commenting, sharing and endorsing my posts and news.

It’s funny how much you feel you know someone and like someone even before you meet.

We kept in touch after last September and exchanged emails and messages, I hoped that we would meet more often and that I would get to know her family more, as I so enjoyed meeting them in Stratford. 

Then, a bombshell, Ellen’s cancer had returned. In a frighteningly short amount of time, the news went from bad to worse and she posted a ‘statement’ telling us that she did not have long to live.

I was beyond honoured that she chose to come to my All Day Sketchbook Club a few weeks ago. We spent such a fun, relaxing day, drawing and painting and laughing and chatting. It was impossible to comprehend that she may not have had long…

But here’s the extraordinary bit. The really really astonishing bit, the bit where she would say “I had no choice”, or “I am not being brave at all” or “anyone would do the same”, well, I’m not so sure Ellen. 

I am pretty convinced that the last few weeks of your extraordinary life were pretty exceptional. 

Ellen has, in all honestly, changed lives. She has made us, no, insisted on us ENJOYING our lives. Every day. Every second. We are beyond fortunate and immensely privileged to be here. 

Below are the words of Ellen, the very very wise words. Words that I hope we will all adhere to…

“Please go and enjoy today. Grab every f**king second of it. Live it for yourself. Live it fully. Have no stupid regrets. I have none. I have lived a life of love and privilege and even when I’ve been at my lowest and depressed I still had it good compared to many. I made some tough decisions in my life, especially since my initial cancer diagnosis, they helped open my eyes and heart, don’t wait to make those decisions, some I should have done years ago, hindsight is a wonderful but totally useless thing though. I’m ok with that. Clearly wasn’t to be before. But now they’re done I know it was right. Surround yourself with the people who love you not judge you, be proud of your actions and always remember just how bad life is, it’s no one’s fault, but your actions can help improve it. Live a life that you can be proud of, not of the big stuff, but the every day little stuff. Be kind. Because it’ll always come back to you.”

“Go on that holiday, learn sign language, draw a cat, ditch the d*ck heads, spend time with your chosen ones, your chosen family, your favourite family. And just really enjoy every minute.”

So, just for Ellen, here is a very special #Sketchbookclub 

She urged us to “Draw a Cat” (which made me really laugh) so I have put together a transfer sheet and instructions, it doesn’t include a video this time as I wanted to get this out quickly, so it is only £2.50 but EVERY penny will go to Cancer Research.

I hope you enjoy drawing your cats, she would be delighted that you’re trying something new and enjoying the moment.

GOOD LUCK 

#DrawACatforEllen (Link here)

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Press coverage update (I know, its been ages!)

I MUST blog more, I must I must! It is just sometimes hard when you are a one woman show, but no excuses now, I am at my desk and ready to tell you about some great press exposure we’ve had recently.

A short while ago, we had the most wonderful feature in The Guardian about how to bring out your inner artist- featuring Sketchbook Club! Hooray!

It was such a lovely piece and we had an overwhelming response from it (waves at all the new followers/users/subscribers!).

You can read the full article here

We also had a sweet little piece in Yours magazine, one of my Sketchbook Club members was asked what she did creatively in her retirement and she very Kindly told them all about Sketchbook Club. She made a really good point that she now makes a lot of her cards as a result of learning how to paint and draw, hooray for Sketchbook Club and thank you so much Ann! xxx

We also had a nice mention in Bath Life magazine for our Circus patches, which are stocked in the wonderful Children’s shop in bath, Spotty Herberts. If ever you are in Bath, do check them out, it is honestly the loveliest Children’s shop I have ever been to!

So… I promise I will try and Blog more, especially as we are getting to that point where we choose FUN things for our house (we’re building a house, yup, a whole new house – scary!). Until my next post, have a lovely week and keep on showing me your Sketchbook Club masterpieces!

xxxxx Jennie

 

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Naughty Paddington – Lovely You!

Gosh, what a week!

I knew that the pictures of the book in Paddington 2, when compared to the pictures of my Pop-Up London book kind of spoke for themselves, but I really didn’t expect such a strong reaction!

On Wednesday, The Telegraph covered the story in their news section and online, the journalist I spoke to could not have been more sincere, professional and supportive. The facts were correct and the article was sensitive and rightly cautious.

On Thursday, The Mail Online ran with it, sadly I didn’t get to speak to anyone, so a few facts were incorrect. My actual fee that I quoted Studio Canal was 30k to be split between myself and the paper engineer for 6 months of solid work, not as The Mail stated, purely 30k for me (I wish!) and the reason I didn’t get the job was actually unrelated to my fee, here’s the line from Studio Canal’s email:

“I think that we are planning on going with the graphics company that could not only illustrate the book, but also make the physical copies.”

This seemed perfectly reasonable and honestly, I didn’t mind at all, until…

I saw the trailer in a cinema with my Mother and daughters, they didn’t notice as they were busy chatting and as I didn’t want to spoil the day, I kept quiet, however, I was clearly deeply distracted as leaving the cinema car parking space, I reversed into another car! Then the tears came and I had to come clean.

It was upsetting to say the least.

There have been so many generous offers of legal help and advice, suggestions of crowd funding, insurance against losses and legal representation for me. I am SO incredibly grateful for all of these offers and have been overwhelmed by people’s kindness, it has completely restored my belief that the majority of us are good people. Really good people.

I decided against facing the High Courts, not only because of the huge financial risks involved, but also, judging by the correspondence we had received (I was represented by the wonderful Teacher Stern), the defence would be incredibly bullish and fierce. The case could take weeks or months and not living in London, being Freelance and having a family, would hold its own complications and implications.

I was advised that there was a strong chance that they would settle (and hopefully apologise) out of court, but after months of legal correspondence they were very firm in their denial and we reached a brick wall.

So I took a deep breath and decided to ‘go public’ as I believed, to do nothing at all, would be an act of complete submission.

I feel so strongly that as Artists we are treated with huge disrespect. We are underpaid (“we have no budget, but will tweet/Instagram about it” is a usual response to payment) and we are copied. Cases of plagiarism by the big companies of small individual creatives are more and more frequent.

So for the sake of this wonderful creative community, I decided I just had to make this known and if in some small way, my story can help prevent further imitations of Artists work, then all of the upset and horror of it all will have in the end, been kind of worth it…

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‘Naughty Paddington’!

So.. I have reached the end of a legal road with the ‘Copycat Meanies’ at Studio Canal Productions. They are refusing to discuss this further and the only option would be to go to court and I have decided to spare myself the stress this would inevitably cause me.

Bear (no pun intended) in mind that they contacted me first, saying how much they loved my work and asking me to produce a Pop Up London Book for Paddington 2. I didn’t ‘get the gig’ and thought nothing more of it – until I saw the film.

But enough words from me. I think the pictures below speak for themselves, so I will just leave them here so you can make your own minds up….

 

 

Above, it is not only the mechanism which bears an uncanny resemblance to my book (pictured on the right), but also the artwork, which in my humble opinion is very similar, black line drawing with a background wash….

‘Paddington’s Pop Up London’ Book – Buckingham palace on the left.

‘Jennie Maizels’ Pop Up London’ Book – Buckingham palace on the right.

Below, Trafalgar square, can you tell which is which?

As you can see from below, when they said they liked my work, clearly it wasn’t just the London book they ‘liked’…

Pop Up London (Published by Walker Books 2012) 

Anyway, I had a WONDERFUL friend who is a deeply talented QC help me with this legal journey, so I have been very lucky. He wisely advised me to refrain from ‘going public’, but now we have reached a point where I can go no further. I feel VERY strongly that this blatant copying of artists’ work HAS TO STOP, so I have decided that now is the time to ‘put it out there’. It is all too common, I see copycat products around all the time. Please ask the artist to create the work for you. It’s their job and it’s THEIR work.

Thank you for reading and I hope nothing like this ever happens to you.

xxx

Jennie

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#SketchbookClubRobin – A Christmas treat from Jennie!

Hello!

Are you all feeling festive?

I am SO excited to be sharing with you a little Christmas treat…

Here you will find everything you need to create a BEAUTIFUL Robin Christmas Card with lovely hand lettering.

As always, anyone ANYONE can do this, from 5 to 105…

You will need: good quality paper, a pencil and rubber, watercolours, two paintbrushes (size 1 and 6) and some coloured pencils. You may also like to add details with a white gel pen.

To make things easy, I have put together a little pack for you on my online shop.

You can watch my Youtube Tutorial showing you how to make your Robin cards here…

 

Now you have watched the tutorial, you are ready to start!

So… Fist of all, print out your reference sheets (you will need one per person):

Once you have printed out the reference sheet above, start to transfer your images…

Firstly draw over your chosen lettering in pencil. Then, turn the paper over & scribble firmly on the back transferring the lettering onto your paper. Next, transfer your Robin!

Draw over the paler image of your chosen Robbin, using an HB pencil. Next, as with the lettering, turn the paper over and scribble firmly on the back.

Now it’s time to add colour! Use the brighter coloured Robbins as reference (as these are the ‘right way round’).

Try a watercolour base with pencil or pen detail when paint is dry. You could do what I did and add white gel pen details too.

Finally, looking carefully at the reference you can add little sprigs of holly and snowflakes in any gaps 🙂

Here are a couple I created:

But in the end I chose this one as my final Christmas card to print ott…

I scanned in the image using my home scanner at a DPI of 300.

I then positioned the image all squashed up on the right, onto A4 paper using Photoshop – like this:

This way, you can fold the paper and cut them out into cards, minimising the paper use.

Three per A4 is quite small! But I liked them as dinky little cards, you may prefer to position then differently, or print them out same size and stick them onto Card.

I really can’t WAIT to see your creations!

Don’t forget to share them using the hashtag #SketchboookClubRobin and I will share my favourites on Instagram!

Good Luck and HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!

Lots of love from Jennie xxxx

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Introducing Pop-Up Shakespeare!

One sunny day I was driving in my car, deep in thought. What pop-up book shall I create next? I was midway through Pop-Up New York and needed to start thinking about my next project.

It needs to be theatrical, splendid and entertaining, I thought. Then, it popped (no pun intended) into my head like a flash. A pop-up Shakespeare book! Immediately, I knew that The Reduced Shakespeare Company needed to write it.

Believe it or not, I remember seeing their show on what was my first proper date with my now husband! I remember laughing so hard my tummy hurt, I remember marvelling at the pure genius of the concept and how cleverly and hilariously it was executed. I’ve since taken my children to see their show and was amazed at how it worked on so many different levels, they too laughed until their tummies hurt!

So, on returning home from my drive, all excited, I sent The Reduced Shakespeare Company a tweet, it said “please can I email you an idea, I’m not a weirdo” (I was worried they might think I was, naturally, haha!)

Because of the time difference, by the time they replied saying “Sure!” I had written my pitch.

Happily, Austin Tichenor, one half behind the RSC, had many of my books and was aware of my work (phew!), so he was on board instantly.

We were soon Skyping away excitedly plotting and planning.

Reed Martin (the other half of the Reduced Shakespeare company) lives in California and Austin Tichenor in Chicago (and me in the middle of nowhere in Hampshire!) but it completely worked! Skype, email, phone, Twitter, Instagram and only ONE in-person meeting was all that was needed, geography didn’t make any difference at all. In fact, it has been one of the most stress-free, happiest books I have ever worked on.

Austin and Reed are true comedians, SO SO FUNNY! Just listen to one of their Podcasts if you want proof.

It was hugely important to me that the book made people laugh. Once, by coincidence, my husband and I both packed The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s ‘orange’ book on holiday. The two of us spent the whole holiday chuckling out loud and reading bits out to people, it was absolutely hilarious.

Austin and I are fresh back from what was a truly wonderful book launch, hosted by The Shakespeare’s Birth Trust, Austin has recorded a special Podcast about the event and The Birth Trust took some fabulous photos….

The book is now officially available EVERYWHERE, I am super proud of it and I really hope you all like it (and laugh a lot!) as much as we do!

Lots of love xxxx Jennie