Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Nightingale

Over at Sandee & Amelie's Steampunk challenges, challenge No2 is about bringing fairytales into the steampunk world. I love fairytales and I love steampunk. I think the two go wonderfully together.

I immediately thought about a fairytale I loved hearing when I was a child, The Nightingale, by Hans Christian Anderson. I think it is inherently steampunk. Steampunk before steampunk.

And since it is a bird I will also enter it into the following challenge:

I made the bird in my recently bought moleskine notebook for my art journalling. I bought it because I saw so many people using those. So I thought I would give it a go. I also bought some new pigment inks, a set with some wonderful colours. Obviously I wanted to try those as well. 
I started by glueing several pages together in the booklet. Which didn't go as well as I'd hoped, as the paper is very thin. I first used a wet glue to glue them together, but later I switched to a glue stick, as this seemed to stop the paper from wrinkling. Though I like a good wrinkle every now and again, I would liked some straight pages as well.

For this page I used one of the wrinkly pages and started by adding a rather thick layer of gesso. Really just having fun with the gesso, using my brush to make it go round and round. Swirling all over the page. I then heat set the gesso, which gave some blisters here and there. I then rubbed all my new pigment inks on the surface...trying them all out, love them all =). 
Sprayed some home made black spray over a letter stencil (left over from some cut outs) and heat set everything.
When that was done I thought I would draw a cute little bird I saw online, a bird made from polymere clay. It was a little hard to get it on there over the bumpy gesso.

 I then saw some swirly bits in the gesso that made me think of a large swirly tail. So I added the tail, again struggling with the bumpy bits.

I coloured the bird in with silver and gold pens and drew the rivets. Then changed my mind and used my new pigment inks to dab some teal and olive green with my fingers onto the birdy. After which I had to do all the lines and rivets again, since the pigments inks are rather opague. I added some gold emobossing and had to do the lines again. Worked in some shadowing...and, you  guessed it, had to do the lines again...

I added the gears, some chinese houses into "the hills" on the horizon, some stamping and a quote from Hans Christian Anderson. "Just Living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." Then, of course, I had to write over the letters of the quote, because I treated those with the pigment inks as well.

We all indeed need sunshine, freedom and a little flower.

It took me quite a while to finish my little birdy, but I do like how it turned out. Not so sure yet about the moleskine booklet, but we'll see how it goes.

I'll leave you with a peek at my workdesk this morning. With the birdy still in progress and my mothers (who is staying with me for a few days) first attempts at art journalling. I do believe she's got the taste for it now. =)

Thank you all for watching and have a nice day.


  1. Love your image of the beautiful Hans Christian Andersen fairytale! You did it absolute honour with your illustration!

    I admire you not giving up having to do the lines again and again! :)
    But it was so well worth it! A beautiful piece of artwork and I am so glad you share it with us over at SanDee&amelie's Steampunk Challenges!

    die amelie x

  2. Your work is fantastic. The bird is so nice and great colours. Wow. Thanks for your comment on my Blog. U can see the materials that i take for the cave in a newer post on my blog. I will try to translate it this evening later.

  3. Fabulous pages, wonderful texture and colours. Your bird is fantastic . The added cogs work perfectly. Thanks so much for joining in the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. Tracy x

  4. Monique...your art journal pages are awesome. That bird is such a fantastic piece of art! I love the added gears and sentiment, too! Thanks for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

  5. Thank you all for your kind comments.

  6. The nightingale is just adorable!
    What great colors.

  7. this is a gorgeous spread ... AMAZING!


    We would be very happy to meet you once this year on our monthly challenges over on


    I became your newest follower-
    I like your ART!

  8. Absolutely adorable I really lover your unique piece of Art a lot!
    Thank you indeed for joining the SanDee&Amelie´s STEAMPUNK CHALLENG!
    XOXO SanDee

  9. fabulous bird and quote to go with it. Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog and I'm so happy I came to visit.

  10. This is so cool! Love the combination of fly and steampunk!

  11. Glorious work again Monique... completely agree about fairytale steampunk in H.C. Anderson! Your nightingale is so spectacular...

    Congratulations on your so well deserved win at SSSaS too!
    Alison xx

  12. Thank you all for your lovely comments.

  13. Again, this is a fascinating story and the little bird is beautifully executed.

  14. wow - this is absolutely fantastic - and so beautifully designed super great mystic!
    Regards, Dagmar

  15. What an original idea. This really is a hard challenge theme and you really nailed it. Very artistic.
    I enjoyed wondering thru your blog. It is a pleasure to read.


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