#FridayFun: Posca Make Today Christmas Pack!

Posca Make Today Christmas pack
Posca Make Today Christmas pack, picture: Cliqq Photography

I have to share this bit of #Fridayfun with you as I’m really so excited. I’m delighted to show off The Posca Make Today Christmas Pack, a product I developed with the marvellous marketing and design team at the Mitsubishi Pencil Company.

Posca Make Today Christmas pack
Posca Make Today Christmas pack, picture: Cliqq Photography

This pack is filled with goodies that will be great for Christmas crafting. Open the box and you’ll find eight specially selected  POSCA pens in different sizes and classic festive colours. The craft kit also includes 10 card blanks plus five sheets of easy draw templates featuring 50+ of my seasonal illustrations to trace and transfer. You’ll also find  24-page booklet that I wrote. It talks you through 16 unique greeting designs to make today, plus five bonus festive makes to create with your pens.

Here’s little peek at some of the designs featured…

Posca Make Today Christmas pack, picture: Cliqq Photography
Posca Make Today Christmas pack, picture: Cliqq Photography
Posca Make it Today Christmas Pack
Posca Make Today Christmas pack, picture: Cliqq Photography
Posca Make Today Christmas Pack
Posca Make Today Christmas pack, picture: Cliqq Photography

You can make your own Christmas cards using the pack but you don’t have to stop there. I’ve also developed 13 extra projects that you can create with the pens – you can see eight of these on the Make Today Website along with loads of extra drawing tips and tricks.

We’ve also made some really simple how-to videos to follow, have a look at this one below…

I’m incredibly proud of our achievement – the pack is a complete solution in a box for the Christmas crafter. I’m so pleased to see my illustrations used commercially and in a format that people can access and use.

You can buy the pack at the Easichalk website...

Posca Make Today Christmas pack
Posca Make Today Christmas pack, picture: Cliqq Photography

Quick craft! Lemon tote #fridayfun

Quick Craft: Lemon ToteAs you read this I will be at the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show in Exeter showing people how to use Posca pens, having my very own Friday fun.

I created this lemon tote as a display item for the show and it’s proved so popular I’ve been asked to make them for friends. I love running Posca pen workshops and have great fun sharing my crafty knowledge. So it’s only fair I share this easy make with you.

I made a simple lemon shape in three sizes in black pen on paper. I then slipped it inside the bag and traced the shapes using a yellow Posca. Then I placed a square of stiff card inside the tote and coloured in the shapes with the Posca. I then used a khaki green Posca to draw stems and leaves. Once the paint pens dried I could then add veins to the leaves with a light green Posca and little orange and white dots to the lemon.

I drew the lemon shape, but if you are not confident in your drawing skills you can easily download a shape from the internet to trace and copy. It really is such an effective design that’s easy to recreate from home.

If you’re in Exeter come and join me at the Uniball stand – we’re on until Sunday!

Oh for the love of hellebores

Hellebore (c) Ella JohnstonThis time of year is just a gift for me as I celebrate my love for hellebores.
Hellebore (c) Ella JohnstonI have a confession to make though. Until we had our garden I had never heard of these blooms. Yes I know – I’m rubbish. I have Dr B to thank for this new love of mine.
Hellebore (c) Ella JohnstonWhen we moved from our London flat to a house with a garden, Dr B unleashed his inner Monty Don (no bad thing) and began his plan for ‘all year planting’. Hellebores, he told me, were a classic winter flower that pop up in Feb and I was assured that every February I would see lovely blossoms that would delight. Dr B didn’t disappoint.
Hellebore (c) Ella Johnston Now every year I look forward to the arrival of these beautiful flowers. I’m told they benefit from a little prune so I’m forever dipping into our garden to snip some flower heads to display indoors.
Hellebore (c) Ella JohnstonThis also gives me a chance to use up my glass globe mini vase (a gift from my sister) and upcycle some charity shop finds. I’ve used my Posca pens to draw on some tealight holders for some floating water displays and spray painted a really rather ugly small vintage vase for a more traditional arrangement.
Hellebore (c) Ella Johnston Hellebore (c) Ella Johnston

Christmas wrap ideas part 1: Totes trad red and green

whitewrapping_2 Over the next four days I got some top easy gift wrap ideas for giving your Christmas pressies that extra pizzazz.
whitewrapping_3Idea number one is inspired by the totes trad red and white festive theme as outlined in this Christmas trends post. As I might of mentioned, this red, white and green colour scheme is one very much favoured by Dr B. So I always do something every year that’s a little concession to his yuletide preferences (although in fairness he’d have penguins and robins and Santas everywhere if it were up to him).

whitewrapping_4This is my concession to tradition. I have loads of gift tags and Posca pens left over from the craft shows I did this autumn so I thought I’d get busy with some quick and easy wrap revamps.  I used two different nib sizes (5M and 1MR) to create different sized dots on the wrapping paper and some of the tags. I then finished it off with a trad twine bow.  I also completed some of the gifts with a bespoke wreath tag. It’s dead easy to do, so much so I’ve got a little step by step for you below for you to try.
whitewrapping_1 You don’t have to be a fantastic drawer to create this wreath, I’ve shown loads of people how to do it; if you can make a mark you can make this wreath. You’ll need a circular tag and Posca pens in dark and light green, gold (or silver), red and blue.
Ella Johnston Christmas Wreath gift tag tutorial Step 1: Make a dark green circle using a rough layered zig-zags.
Ella Johnston Christmas Wreath gift tag tutorial Step 2: Overlay the dark green with a lighter shade.
Ella Johnston Christmas Wreath gift tag tutorial Step 3: Once your wreath is dry (the pens are paint based so you can use them as such) use the gold pen to draw lines around the ring as above, like it is wrapped around the wreath. Once you have covered the wreath with gold lines draw circles along the lines to make a string of beads.
Ella Johnston Christmas Wreath gift tag tutorial Step 4: Add coloured baubles in-between the gold bead garland.
Ella Johnston Christmas Wreath gift tag tutorial
Step 5: Write a little festive phrase in the middle.

How-to: Easy Glass Lanterns

Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk Earlier this month I had great fun showing people how to use Posca pens to decorate glass lanterns the easy way at The Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show at EventCity in Manchester.
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk As you know I’ve been working with Posca pens all year, as I’ve done a lot of work with the company, but it’s always better when you can see what other people come with up when you show them how to use the pens.

I ran around five workshops in small groups of five or six everyday and it was such as pleasure to share some knowledge and see others’ creativity flourish.
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.ukI made the illustrated lanterns shown here in preparation for the show, to illustrate how you can use the pens to decorate onto glass, using the different sized nibs and various colours to create different illustrative effects.

Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.ukThe glass drawing preparation work I’d done was a great way of kick-starting new ideas from my workshop buddies who used the designs as a inspiration for their own work.

I did a combination of easy dots and strokes, simple girly designs and seasonal Christmas-themed, autumn and halloween illustrations.
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk I’d kept the shapes very simple and easy to copy and explored ways you can layer colour with the pen. And while some of my workshoppers stuck to simple dots and strokes or my easy shapes, others were more ambitious, creating stunning intricate designs of their own. It gave me a real buzz.
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk You can work directly onto these glasses with the pens. To seal in the design you simply bake the glass in the oven for 160-degrees (Gas mark 2 I think) for 45 mins so we’re using robust glass here. We used glasses from Ikea so that people could easily get more if they developed an addiction for easy glass painting. 
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk
I’m doing a mini-tour of with the company and will be doing my do with Posca and other Uni-ball pens at the following venues.

NEC, Birmingham:  3-6 November
ExCeL, London: 17-19 November

Join me if you can, if not just check out what you do with some pens and some glass. Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk

How to change a plain notebook into a personalised gift

Monogramed Notebooks with Posca Pens ellasplace.co.ukTransform a plain notebook into a personalised gift with my easy how-to.
Monogramed Notebooks with Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk It’s more Posca pen stuff from me this week as I warm up for some workshops I’m doing for the company in September. I really want to get the workshops right. Monogramed Notebooks with Posca Pens ellasplace.co.ukAs  you know I like to make personalised gifts and I currently know three people are doing some quite daunting things… Gearing to go back to work after maternity leave, going back to college (scary) and embarking on an exciting new creative project, I thought a personalised notebook would make a great little gift for these three special individuals. Monogramed Notebooks with Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk This is a really simple illustration project but makes for a very effective and professional looking present. All I did was take a three-pack of Moleskine mini cahiers, got out some sumptuously coloured Poscas and went for it.
Monogramed Notebooks with Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk You can see how I created the laurel leaf motif by watching a tutorial I did for Posca pens earlier this year.

As you can see the drawing techniques are really easy and the pens are very nice to use. The initial on the books are quite ornate compared to the formal lettering illustrated on the wooden coasters. Depending on how confident you are, you can decided which style to go for.
Monogramed Notebooks with Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk Because the pens produce a paint-like effect even light colours can look clear and vivid on the book’s brown craft card covers. Monogramed Notebooks with Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk Just by using simple illustration techniques you can create an ornate, sophisticated looking gift, personalised for a special person. Monogramed Notebooks with Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk Monogramed Notebooks with Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk

DIY: Ornate cases

Ornate cases ellasplace.co.uk I’m not gonna lie, these ornate cases took ages to create but they are quite a cool DIY. I have had a brief from the guys at Uni-Ball to create a selection of products updated with the company’s pens. I wanted to make a number of items at various sizes and using the wide range of pens they had on offer.
Ornate cases ellasplace.co.ukI also wanted an excuse to play with an ornate pattern idea I’ve had for a while. Because Uni-Ball’s Posca pens have a wide range of colours and shades I thought they would perfectly lend themselves to a pattern that utilised various shades of the same hue.
Ornate cases ellasplace.co.ukI have looked through loads of tile designs to come up with the ones I have worked out here.
Ornate cases ellasplace.co.ukThese cases were plain brown mdf boxes. I traced on my design before filling in the light colours then layering with darker shades.
Ornate cases ellasplace.co.uk
Ornate cases ellasplace.co.uk
Ornate cases ellasplace.co.uk

DIY: Easy Fancy Votives

Pimped up votives posca pens ellasplace.co.uk

This is a really easy DIY – a pretty pen project to make fancy votives that give cheap filled candles a designer feel.

Pimped up votives posca pens ellasplace.co.ukAs you know I love a scented candle and I do occasionally splash the cash on some expensive ones. However, because I go through quite a few of them, I do get some cheaper ones to light on a Friday and Sunday night when I’m relaxing with Dr B or when I have a cheeky Saturday afternoon bath.
Pimped up votives posca pens ellasplace.co.uk Plain filled candles can look a little drab and I like to give them a nice look. As I’m currently doing some work for Posca pens I’ve got loads of various colours lying around – I’ve chosen beautiful gold and berry coloured pens and gave them a simple leaf pattern.
Pimped up votives posca pens ellasplace.co.uk I wanted to create something really quick and easy as the last thing I wanted to do was spend ages doing an intricate pattern. So these  are just scribbled little lozenges drawn on an angle.
Pimped up votives posca pens ellasplace.co.uk In the spirit of all things green I recycle my glasses once the candle has been burned. Once I finish with them I will use them as vases. The lovely thing about this project is I can pop these glasses in the oven at 145C to seal in the design and I have some lovely gold and berry containers. Pimped up votives posca pens ellasplace.co.uk

Stash-busting How-to: Make Paper Banners

Banner display ellasplace.co.uk I don’t know about you but I’ve got a big stash of plain and patterned paper from previous projects and from when I’ve taken advantage of bulk offers in art shops. It seems like a waste to have them languishing in drawers and boxes so last week I took action and turned some of them into stash-busting banners to decorate our study with a simple wall display.
Banner display ellasplace.co.uk I had some lovely light blue card that I’d been waiting for something to do with and some left-over summer swallow and butterfly designs that I had created to decorate a friends wedding. I thought the colours all worked really well together and I had some Posca pens in a lovely slate grey that would lift the blue card and unify the whole scheme once I’d added some simple text and design.
Banner display ellasplace.co.uk Making these banners is a synch. It just requires a ruler, a length of doweling, a craft knife, twine, double-sided-tape and the paper(s) of your choice. I measured my doweling at various lengths and cut to size (I could easily snip mine with a craft knife but you may need something more ‘robust’).
Banner display ellasplace.co.uk I then trimmed my papers into rectangles making sure I had about a 2cm allowance to wrap them over the doweling and leaving room at the bottom for cutting the bottom into a ‘v’ or inverted ‘v’ or at an angle while not compromising the main design.
Banner display ellasplace.co.ukOnce the blue card was cut, I could draw a bespoke illustration on it. I thought I’d keep it some with a hand-scripted ‘hello’ and some simple laurel leaf and flower motifs. Let me know if you’d like me to talk through hand scripting and drawing these leaves and flowers – they’re easy to master and you don’t have to be a great draftsman/woman, I promise .
Banner display ellasplace.co.uk With everything cut to size I applied lengths of double-sided-tape to the doweling and, in the case three out of the four banners, I attached the ends of my twine before rolling the edges of the rectangles over the doweling to fix.

I’m pleased that I was able to give my old stash a new lease of life and I’m delighted to be able to add another bit of quirky handmade styles to a little corner of our study.

DIY: Update a wooden box

Customised pencil box Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk

I’ve had this little wooden box for years. It was plain and unloved for ages. I kept pencils in it and every time I retrieved them I thought “I should really do something with this” and then I’d leave it.

Customised pencil box Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk

Then a couple of weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to do some projects with Uni-ball the makers of Posca pens. Before I started on the projects I thought it best to re-familiarise myself with them and have a little practice. The pens work on a range of surfaces, so after I used them on a set of notebooks I thought I’d give them a try by drawing on that plain old wooden box.
Customised pencil box Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk

First I painted the box to give it an even white background. Then I used my wood anemone sketch as a basis for my hand-drawn box design. I wanted to make it look quite retro so influenced by sixties and seventies floral patterns I gave the flowers a bright blue colour.

Customised pencil box Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk

What I like about these pens is that you can layer them without them bleeding and apply lighter shades over darker ones which means I could add depth to the flowers with lovely yellow centres and white pollen.You can set the design by simply spraying some varnish over it.
Customised pencil box Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk
Customised pencil box Posca Pens ellasplace.co.uk

You can set the design on the box by