About Jane

Hello, I’m Jane Bradbury, a self-taught digital artist. My journey begins with PaintShop Pro Version 7, originally a JASC product now owned by Corel. I used it to edit photos for my cross stitch website, Coal House Designs, a little family business begun in 2001.

In 2005 I discover arthritis has worn out my thumb joint and I had to stop stitching. I couldn’t face designing and not ever stitching, and so Coal House Designs went into retirement. It was a huge blow; my disability put extra strain on my little joints and wore them out quickly. I found digital scrapbooking a great replacement, a little kinder on the hands and learned a whole lot about image resolution and taking digital photographs. That knowledge would have been invaluable in my cross stitch career because many of the photographs I took were way too small to show off the designs properly!

Photographs From My Knee

Ancaster Church 2006
Ancaster Church 2006

Digital photography was a great boon for me. I could balance the camera on my knee, or any surface, to take photos by looking through the viewfinder at the back. I managed a few good photos for digital scrapbooking before illness kept me at home. My photography diminished as there’s not a lot of interest to snap around my house.

Except that’s not really true is it?

I have a real fascination with daily life from years ago; a TV programme called Back In Time For Dinner on the BBC reawakened my interest with its detail of the food we ate and events and gadgets of the time. I’ve been working on my Family History for a few years too and always I want to know more.

Ali Edwards agrees and says, “Tell me more. Tell me the reason why. Tell my why this photo is meaningful to you. Tell me something I can’t know by looking at the photos.

Tell me why you are taking the time to record this moment, this day, this period of time, this photo. Tell me what and who you’re thankful for and who makes you laugh best of all.”

I don’t live the most interesting life but it’s all mine. Perhaps someone will find the daily details of life in the 20th and 21st centuries fascinating too, if my projects survive into the future!

Inspiration

I’m not sure why I am so late to the enormous learning repository that is YouTube. In 2016 I began watching all manner of scrapbooking, card-making, Traveler’s Notebooks, painting and watercolouring videos. Although I don’t use the traditional materials of paper, paint or pens I found techniques seeping into my digital skills. Here’s my Liked Playlist on YouTube featuring all the people I love to watch for inspiration.

A great addition to my digital toolbox is the Silhouettte Cameo electronic cutter. I admit that for quite a while it intimidated me and I made very few projects. For Christmas 2015/2016 I did make cards for my Mum, and I marvelled at the straight edges I can’t get for love or money with a physical paper trimmer. The Silhouette Studio software is fast becoming my second-favourite place to work, behind my beloved PaintShop Pro.

I Make Videos

In 2017 I started my own YouTube channel initially to provide PaintShop Pro tutorials. With the arrival of new Silhouette Studio software I created a video explaining some of the changes, followed by Learn The Tools and Draw A Bird. They are my two most popular videos, with over 700 views each (August 2017) and although I love PaintShop Pro and its versatility, it isn’t proving popular with people at the moment.

Sillhouette Studio received another new update in August 2017 and I took the plunge to update to the Business Edition. I’m still very new to this software and have much to learn. Slowly, my focus is changing; I try to think first “How can I make this in Silhouette Studio?” I will always need my PaintShop Pro, if only to make great patterned paper and dimensional embellishments I then pull into Sillhouette!

I Love Poldark Cross Stitch Design | Coal House Designs
Cross Stitch Design | Coal House Designs

When I’m not playing with graphic design then I do a bit of cross stitch design. Yes, I am finally over my sadness at being physically unable to stitch and have dusted off some old designs and reopened Coal House Designs.

I have to say that one of my favourite designs is this I Love Poldark coaster.

Who, what, where? Cornwall, handsome man, red-haired beauty, tin mining and skulduggery!

Updated August 2017