Friday, 15 January 2016

"la fée urbaine" - for our January Challenge at SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges


The first challenge over at SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges this year is already in full swing!  Being member of team B I am sharing my January project for our "Anything Goes - Steampunk/Industrial" challenge with you today.

One of my (few but earnest) resolutions for the new year is to draw again (and more regularly) and also be brave and put my drawings out there for you to see (you see - I am still very shy when it comes to exposing myself in my personal art. It makes you more "real" as the artist behind the makes and more "readable" (which is good) - but therefore also more vulnerable at the same time as you are showing a piece of yourself.

The "fée urbaine" or "urban fairy" originates from one of my very first avatars (or pseudonyms) under which I started publishing my own poetry years ago - "asphaltfee" - which is German for "asphalt fairy". (and I still remember very well the loud beating of my anxious and excited heart when I hit the "publish" button for the first time in my very first poetry forum ;).

I believe that urban fairies exist - not as tiny fragile and magical creatures of course but as people like you and me who haven't forgotten how to "see the magic and poetry in ordinary day life and small things". As someone who can be fascinated by the working and pumping of steaming technology as well as by the sight of some dandelion breaking open the asphalt of the concrete desert of the city.

And if you have already thought that the hairstyle of my urban fairy looks a bit familiar this is no coincidence of course. I love nature's beauty and piece and quiet but I also love watching life in the city and detecting urban poetry when watching people and traces of life in general (in Vienna's coffee houses, markets, historical and modern buildings), yes - that fairy looks a bit like (a younger and slimmer version of) me.

I have used some lovely dragonfly wings from Wycnanka, a Tando Mixed Media Board and some die cut gears which I got from lovely Rosie ages ago and have hoarded ever since (thank you, Rosie!). But today's post is especially meant to introduce to you the new (and one and only) prize sponsor of our steampunk challenge blog - DecoArt Media!

And this is the prize package I have been kindly allowed to put together for our lucky winners. As you can see I have chosen some of my favourite go-to colour tones and media for creating steampunk or industrial looking mixed media art - and I hope it will make a good starter pack for your new DecoArt- and steampunk/industrial art adventures too!

Of course I love to mix DecoArt products with the products from other brands that I have already in my stash - so today I want to put a special focus on some of my favourite DecoArt Media products and also show you how to incorporate them into your actual media stash!

First: DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams! A must-have if you want to tone down your projects for a more grungy feel (and still have the possibility to wipe it all off again if you aren't content with the look)!

This is how the gears looked before the treatment with "Carbon Black" Antiquing Cream:

Shiny and bright (which is the amazing effect of DecoArt's awesome "Dazzling Metallics" paints!!!) - and beautifully metallike! Of course you should also use them the shiny and blingy way...but I wanted a more worn look - so dabbing on some Antiquing Cream with my finger did the job perfectly.

Another fab mixed media product specialty from DecoArt's Media range are their Interference Paints! I used "Green" on my painted dragonfly...erm...fairy wings and you can see how it depends on the angle you look at them to see their ever changing effect! Perfect for moving objects like mobiles or foldable cards or ornaments...or for creating magical fairy bling that only shows when you look closely ;)

To prepare my background I first painted a thorough coat of Raw Umber heavy body acrylic onto my mixed media board and let that dry. Then I applied a generous coat of DecoArt Weathered Wood crackle medium and let that dry to the touch. Then I quickly and gently applied a thin coat of Americana acrylic paints "Green Mist" and "Light Buttermilk" (mixing them directly on the substrate) and let the Weathered Wood do its magic. 

 To create a visual frame (and to make it look a bit more rusty and worn) I applied some DecoArt Media fluid acrylics "Transparent Red Iron Oxide" and "Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide" around the edges and quickly misted everything with water to create a light wash and drip lines. But be careful not to add too much water - otherwise the top layer of Americana paints might come off!!!

While that was set aside to dry I started with a pencil sketch for my fairy. Once I was content with the sketch I used my light box and a a black super fine tip PITT Artist Pen to transfer the drawing to a clean sheet of heavier paper. As the inks in the Faber Castell PITT pens are permanent, you can paint over them later without smudging the lines.

If you are anxious about messing up your drawing when colouring it with watercolours or inks, just make a copy of your drawing first. You can work on the copy as well (if you have used heavier printer paper), but then you have to make sure the ink from the printer has dried completely!!!

Mix your inks on your craft sheet or palette as you go - be daring! Create new tones by adding new layers - this will create a lot of depth.

I then arranged my prepared cogs and gears and glued them to my background panel (using my favourite glue and sealant - matte DecoArt Decou-Page).

I printed out my words and blended the edges of the cut out word tile with Distress ink using a blending tool and archival black stamping ink. 

 Finally I added my fairy and the wings to the background and shaded the image and word tile in using a "ground espresso" Distress marker which I smuged with my fingertip while it was still wet.

Here are some close ups of the created effects and layers...

...and of course the invitation to hop over to SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges to check out the creations of my fab team mates and find out about how to enter our challenge and maybe even make it to our Top5 or win some awesome DecoArt goodies!

Hope to see you over there (and playing along with us) soon! 

Hugs and happy crafting,


  1. Very beautiful your work! I love to see step by step!A hug!

  2. Awesome tag and tutorial, Claudia. Love your color palette. Love your "metallic" gears and wings, etc. The crackled background is fantastic.

  3. Wonderful tag, Claudia! Thank you for the detailed steps on how you created it and thank you for sharing your Urban Fairy.

  4. Say what! You drew that wonderous urban fairy!?! Your talent knows no bounds dearie! Love the metallics you have used and the gear dies are oodles of awesome sauceness! Fantabulous design and that mega crackle is mega deliscious! Hugz to you muffin! ~N

  5. Tolle Idee und super Effekte, hat irgendwie Ähnlichkeit mit deinem Sohnemann :-)Vielen Dank für das ausführliche Tuto!

  6. this is awesome! I think your drawing skills are superb, show us more!! =)

  7. Dear Claudia, your drawing is wonderful and I would love to see more of them…don’t be so shy :)...Thank you for sharing tutorial and for inspiration...I am really happy to be here after looong time and I am sorry for not visiting more often :(
    A bit late, but straight from the heart....I wish you and yours all the best in 2016!
    Hugs from sLOVEnija

  8. Ich sitze hier und bin hin und weg von dieser klasse gezeichneten Fee, den tollen Flügeln,ja von dem megaschönen Tag. Könnt ich klauen. Deine Fee ist buchtauglich, du solltest Geschichten illustrieren, dein Stil ist so klasse. Wow! Verrätst du mir wo es die Flügel gibt,sind das Stanzteile?
    Schönen Restsonntag u. liebe Grüße

  9. Hi Claudia! This is stunning. The base tag is super and your drawing is really wonderful. The color combination is fabulous. A great job as always!
    Thank you for your kind comment.
    Mar xx

  10. Such a cool piece! I like how it reflects you, Claudia. Those wings are gorgeous, and the textures are brilliant. Somewhere inside of us is that younger version, and it's fun to bring them out once in awhile, like you did here. Hugs!


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