Monday, November 27, 2006

The Easy Way to Make a Club Logo

Are you a member of a club or association? Have you ever thought how much better your letterheads would look with your own club logo? How about a sign for your club with your logo and club name on it?

Well, it is really very easy to make up your own logo. It will be unique to your club too.

Use Your Computer

By using your computer and some copyright free clipart you will have a huge range of material to choose from. Here’s how to begin this exciting project.

You are going to select suitable objects from the clipart package and use these to design your logo.

Choose things that relate to your club's activities. For example, cameras, tripod, and film for a photography club. Or perhaps a checked background with a few chess pieces for a chess club.

The easiest way is to open an art/graphics program - most computers come with one. This does not need to be any particular program just whatever you have available.

Clipart for Ideas

Have a look through the clipart. This can be the ones that come with the art/graphics program or one of the many clipart CD that are for sale. Try to use copyright free clipart, most clipart is. You will be combining various clipart objects in your final logo so there shouldn't be any copyright problems anyway.

I like to copy and paste the various clipart objects onto one page in the art program. It saves going back and forth to the clipart. Collect together suitable objects that relate to your club.

Next decide on the shape you would like the logo to be. It could be square, round, arched, even heart shaped.

Assemble the Items

Open a new page then start with the logo shape and fill it in with a suitable color. This will depend on the colors of your other objects. If the objects are dark then a light background will be better, and if the objects are mainly light try using a darker background.

Use copy and paste to move the objects onto the page with the logo background. Place your objects onto the background. Resize them to suit the background if necessary.

I like to have some of them overlapping; I think it looks more interesting. When you do this select the one you want to bring to the front, then click on Arrange, then Layer, and bring forward. Your program may be a bit different but it will let you do this - use the Help menu if you need to.

Adding the Club Name?

If you want to include the club name, leave room for it when you are placing the objects.

To add the club’s name, add a Text Box. Type in the club’s name. You can use any font you like - there is almost too much choice. Move the text box into the correct position.

You could use a banner shape from the options in the program and place the club name on it if that would suit your layout.

Once you have an arrangement you like use the Edit menu to Select All, and then Save it.

You can make several logos with different objects and different layouts. Be sure to Save the ones you like!

Print them out, and take your new logos to the club so that the club members can decide on the best one to use.

It has never been so easy to create your own logo. How about one for yourself or your family?

Add the logo to all your club stationery. Use it on your letterhead, cards, and activity programs. You could even make your own sign.

A good logo will make your club standout from the crowd.

Check out the Acrylic Painting Report "The Easy Way to Brighten Your Community" for more information on this interesting project. Just visit for further details.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Coat of Arms – An Easy Way to Design and Make It

Designing and making your own Coat of Arms is an interesting and enjoyable project. The Coat of Arms could be for your family or as a present. It will make a distinctive and original gift.

You can choose whether it will be funny or more traditional. A Coat of Arms can be an unusual leaving present for a co-worker.

What theme?

The Coat of Arms can be themed to a particular event or hobby –

Hobby or special interest – golf, fishing, cooking
Life event – graduation, winning a particular contest
Humorous – funny episodes in life, the person’s quirks

Begin by choosing a background shape for the Coat of Arms. A shield shape is traditional; however choose a shape that matches the person it is for. You could have a heart shaped one for a young girl or for someone who is getting married.

Then select the items that will be included in the Coat of Arms. This could be very simple - for example a couple of crossed tennis racquets - or fairly elaborate depending on your theme.

The final size of the Coat of Arms will restrict the number of items you can include. A smaller ‘letterhead’ size Coat of Arms may only have one or two things, but one painted onto a canvas could include a lot more items and extra detail.

Placing for a great result

If you’re only using one item it would probably be placed centrally. For two items you could place them side by side or one to the top and the other to the bottom. When a Coat of Arms has four items they are often placed in the four quadrants which have been sectioned off with lines.

Clip art is a handy way to select the different things to include in your Coat of Arms. Copy and Paste a range of suitable items onto one page and then make your final selection from these.

When you are making a Coat of Arms for a particular person you can include the things that they like to do. My husband is a teacher, he likes golf, fishing and does a lot of DIY. A traditional Coat of Arms for him could be a shield shape divided into four quadrants. The sections could have –

A mortar board
Golf clubs
A cross shape made from a hammer and screwdriver

For a smaller, less formal one I could use a golf ball shape background with a diagonal cross made of a fishing rod and a golf club. There could also be a motto like “Life’s too short to work!” or something similar.

A good theme for a funny Coat of Arms would be to choose things that represent silly episodes in their life. You can really get creative with your items!

Making it up

To make up your Coat of Arms draw in the background shape and place your items for a pleasing result. You could add a motto at the bottom as well. Using computer fonts for this will ensure that the lettering, and the spacing between the letters, is perfect.

If you have done this in a computer program you could print it out. Remember that most computer inks will fade over time if left in the sunlight.

Alternatively you could trace and paint the Coat of Arms onto a canvas panel. For a larger one you can print out sections of the Coat of Arms onto several pages of computer paper and join them together. Trace this onto a canvas panel or stretched canvas and paint it – I like to use acrylic paints because they are water based and quick and easy to use.

**A large Coat of Arms on a stretched canvas is an impressive gift.**

If you have made a family Coat of Arms you could add it to your letterhead, or print it onto the front of cards for your own personalized stationery.

This is a great project that you will enjoy doing either by yourself or with others. Be sure to give it a try.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Do You Have A Healthy Brain?

The Secret to Mental Agility

We all know to exercise our bodies to keep fit, but how often do you think about exercising your brain? And what type of exercise does it need anyway? What are the facts? What is the secret to mental agility?

Keeping mentally active will keep your brain in good shape. Getting older does not mean that you have to be forgetful!

Recent research into Alzheimer's disease found that people who were less active between the ages of 20 and 60 years are almost 4 times more likely to develop the disease. The brain, like the rest of the body, needs to be kept active to keep healthy.

You exercise your body to keep it in shape. Now it has been shown that exercising your brain can keep it in shape too.

Brain 'Exercise'

That leaves us with the question of what to do to keep our brains active. The research discovered that how you spend your leisure time can affect the health of your brain.

Leisure activities can be divided into -

Passive activities, which include watching TV, participating in social activities, and listening to music

Intellectual activities are reading, painting, playing a musical instrument, woodworking.

Physical activities, for example, gardening, playing sport, working out at the gym, walking, jogging.

The only 'activity' that the Alzheimer's patients had performed more frequently than the control group was watching TV!

The research team was lead by Robert Friedland, professor of neurology, University Hospitals of Cleveland. He said "A relative increase in the amount of time devoted to intellectual activities from early adulthood (ages 20-39) to mid-adulthood (ages 40-60) was associated with a significant decrease in the probability of having Alzheimer's disease later in life."

An intellectual or physical hobby stimulates the brain and may reduce neurodegeneration as seen in diseases such as Alzheimer's. So sitting watching the TV isn't enough for your brain, you need to keep it active. One way is by learning new things.

Learn to Paint

Many of the finalists in the Learning in Later Life Campaign 2000 to find England's oldest and most inspiring learners had art and painting as their hobby.

England's Oldest Learner was Fred Moore who was then aged 107 years. Fred continued with art classes until he died at the age of 109. The manager of his residential home said "Fred was a remarkable chap. He kept his memory, going back to the death of Queen Victoria, and always retained his great sense of humor."

So it's official then, learning a new hobby is good for you. Fancy learning to paint? Painting can be done indoors and outdoors, as well as by yourself or in a group.

It is never too late to start. Local night classes offer a range of options. Have a look in the painting section at You can see free painting tips, as well as a free preview of step-by-step instructions to completing your first painting.

Remember you can have a healthy brain and enjoy a hobby too.
Don't leave it until tomorrow, begin today!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Beginner’s Acrylic Painting - Paper Painting Surfaces

Paper Painting Surfaces – What You Need to Know

Have you ever gone in to buy some paper for painting and been overwhelmed by the choice? You would think it would be a simple thing to buy a sheet of paper, wouldn't you? Well, it can be if you know what the different choices mean and how it can affect your finished painting.

A Beginners Guide on Acrylic Painting Paper Surfaces

Manufacturers have created a whole range of paper products for the artist. So many choices that unless you know what some of the terms mean it can be very confusing.

When you want your painting to last for a long time always go for acid-free. This is the type of paper used in archives.

The next thing is the surface texture of the paper, whether you want a fine texture or rough. You may be asking “How do I know? I’m just beginning with acrylic paints and I want something to paint on!”

The texture you choose will depend on your style of painting and the kinds of paintings you like. If you like to have a lot of detail in your paintings you will need a smooth textured paper - in which case you want one that is ‘Hot Pressed’.

If you use a lot of watercolour (or watercolour style) washes then the paper you should choose will be ‘Not’. That means 'Not hot pressed'. It has a bit more texture than Hot pressed papers.

If you paint a lot of landscapes and/or like granulation (which happens when the colors separate while they dry) you will probably like using Cold pressed papers. These have the roughest texture.

Papers are sold in weights. This affects the thickness of the paper. Papers that are less than 300-lb or 640gsm (grams per square metre) will need to be stretched before painting. If you don’t stretch the paper it will buckle when wet making painting difficult and the paint will dry in the hollows giving a disappointing result.


Painting Tip

Stretching paper needs to be done in advance and the paper allowed to dry before you use it. You will need a clean drawing board, some 1½ inch wide gum strip, and water to soak the paper in (the bath is handy for this).

Soak the paper in the water until it is saturated, this will take less than a minute. Place the paper onto the board and smooth it out from the centre to the edges.

Cut pieces of gum strip to fit the length and the width of the paper, plus a couple of inches. Dampen the gum strip and use it to stick the longer edges of the paper to the board, and then do the shorter edges. Smooth out the paper and the gum strip and leave it to dry naturally and on the horizontal. Do not place it near a heater!


If you just want to paint without needing to prepare the paper, there are pads of ready stretched paper that save you having to do this yourself. These pads have the paper glued around the edges and you paint on the top of the pad. Once you've finished the painting and it is completely dry, a knife is inserted at one of the edges and moved around the sides to cut through the glue and free the top layer.

It is a good investment to buy good quality paper. It is much easier to use which is important when beginning with acrylic paints, and gives a better result.

Next time you need to buy paper think about how you like to paint, and it will be much easier to decide on the type of paper to buy.

Look out for other Beginners Acrylic Painting articles on buying the rest of your painting supplies – palette and brushes, and acrylic paints.

Visit my website to find out How to Acrylic Paint.

The Acrylic Painting Course is the step-by-step way to learn how to paint. Quick and Easy!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Easy Way to Make a Special Present

We all know someone who is difficult to buy a present for. Someone who has everything they need and would not appreciate ‘normal’ gifts. Often this will be your parent or an older relative or neighbour, and they can be a problem to buy something for.

Well, this is a simple way to make a unique gift that they will be happy to accept. When you take the time to produce something that relates only to them and their interests it will always be happily received.

Use their Interests as a Theme

The idea is to make a picture that includes something that they are especially interested in. This could be a hobby or any other interest they have.

This is a quick and easy technique. You simply choose your theme (their hobby or interest), paint a silhouette of it onto a coloured background and frame it.

You could paint a coloured background onto a canvas panel or use already coloured paper. I noticed my local art store had coloured card that had a range of colours merging into each other, this would be ideal for this technique.

The theme of your silhouette is really the creative part. The easiest thing would be to use their hobby as the theme.

Look through some copyright free clip art until you find an image that you could use for the outline of the silhouette.

If they like fishing it could be a fisherman/fish/fishing fly. For a golfer it could be a set of clubs/golf hole with flag. For someone who likes to cook it could be related to cooking. If they are keen church-goers a silhouette of their church may be appreciated.

A lot of people like to receive a silhouette of their home. For car enthusiast a silhouette of their car is a good idea. In which case you could use a digital camera and take a picture of their church, home or whatever you have decided to include in the picture.

You really can use your imagination for this. When using clip art you have a huge range of options (probably too many!) to choose from. You don’t have to be great at drawing!

Also, you can use a computer graphics package to blend together two or three images for your final silhouette shape. Be sure to adjust the size of the final image to make it the correct size for the painting surface you have chosen, and print it out. As this is a gift you can make it whatever size you choose.

Once you have painted or found a suitable background, then trace around the outside edge of the image for your silhouette shape. Use carbon paper for this.

Fill it in

The silhouette shape can be painted in using acrylic paints – don’t make the paint too thin though! Another alternative is to use a permanent marker, not a normal marker as it will fade over time, and that would be disappointing for the person receiving the gift.

Silhouettes look very effective and traditional in black. However you could use a darker shade of one of the colours in the background for an alternative look. For example if the background was a pale green the silhouette could be in a dark green. This all adds to the uniqueness of your gift.

If you are using a coloured card it will be better to use a permanent marker as the water in the paint may cause the card surface to buckle.

Fill in the silhouette shape and leave to dry. Then frame the silhouette picture.

**A distinctive gift for a special person**

This type of personalized gift is always appreciated and shows that you have put some thought, time and effort into the present.

Another major benefit is that no one else will be giving exactly the same gift!

What about a card?

This is an excellent technique if you can’t find a suitable card.

You can make your own special card. It is most effective if you choose a very simple shape for the silhouette when using this method in card making. Cards are generally a lot smaller and look best when you use less detailed shapes.

Use this system and say goodbye to gift buying problems for that hard to please someone.