In this video I share how I create one of my collage layouts in my altered books. Using a vintage image from “The Girl’s Own Paper”, a magazine from 1903, and the cover of an antique French bank book from 1910, I show how I play with a variety of backgrounds to get a page that you can’t stop looking at. I also explain about where to put the images on the page and how to rearrange them to change the narrative, or story, that the images are telling. Finally, I show how to really make your altered book pages pop by edging the images with charcoal and smudging.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and I will be happy to get back to you and if you like what you see, subscribe to my free, online newsletter where you will receive tips, hacks, and tutorials for making altered books and other paper and journal arts [read more]
There are many ways to make paper flowers but this is my favourite. Easy, cheap, truly beautiful, and fun. You can wear them a “brooch,” buttoniere, or corsage, put in a little vase, or give as a gift. All you need is a length of paper, a “stem,” and a glue gun, then you roll and tack, tack and roll. Here’s the video tutorial.
Add a brooch back or corsage pin, and you are ready to go. Just let me know if you have any questions and please sign up for my newsletter on my website for more free art ideas and other [read more]
I have heard from several people this week, in different degrees of anxiety, say that they want to – they need to – start a diary or journal but their fear of the blank page has only increased during these strange days. Well people, this will not do. In addition to being the record you need to be keeping of what is happening, keeping a journal is cheap therapy that can make a difference.
So. Here is a short video tutorial showing ways to knock this blank page fear thing out of the park. You are going to deliberately, on purposely get your pages dirty. Well, not dirty, but you are going to stain them with a variety of elements so that you will have a nice, grungy, comfortable, welcoming paper to begin with. Turn the idea of order out of chaos on its head and instead make chaos out of order, then play with it.
Drizzle tea. Dab coffee. Spritz ink. Splatter paint. Doodle, then scribble, then doodle some more. Make a grid and fill it with notes in the form of teensy images. But no excuses.
Using an ink wash is a fun and easy way to add interest to your illustrated journal or art journal pages. It is especially handy way to start a page if you are not confident in your drawing as it is by its nature a messy look. (“See? I meant it to look like that.”)
In this short video, you can see how the technique can be done with pen and ink as well as other water soluble materials. Let me know if you have any [read more]
Once you have your written your no-holds-barred manifesto of how you would live your one precious life if you could do anything you dreamed of, you need to turn it into something more practical in the form of no-fail New Year’s Resolutions, which is just a way to say: name the tasks you need to get you from here to there.
I know that one big reason people famously “fail” at resolutions is that they make so few of them: if you only make three big, overarching resolutions and you stumble over two, then you can wail that you knew you couldn’t do it and making New Year’s resolutions is lame. But what if you made 23 very small, very specific resolutions and kept nine of them? Or seven? Keeping up with seven, tiny resolutions might turn your life around and keep it turning.
While I sincerely hope your burner journal now contains details about your desire to live in an Italian farmhouse and grow your own olives, or be a wildly successful junk journal maker or the next Tim Holtz, let’s start with something universal: the desire to get in shape; to be sexy, fierce, lean, and bold. (I coach [read more]
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard, A Writing Life
Making New Year’s Resolutions is a kind of religion for me. I believe in it so much that I make my resolutions at the new year and again at mid-year for tune up. If you are reading this and you think that resolutions are corny or a waste of time, I strongly suspect that no one has ever sugested ways that are meaningful and guarantees success. So give it a chance and join me, won’t you? You are about to change your life.
In my experience, expressing your deepest, wildest dreams, even in a private diary, can feel scary and sometimes even wrong, as in: “Who am I to allow myself to imagine a life this big and gorgeous and successful? And if I write it in my day-to-day journal, what if someone sees it? What if I see it, what if I read it again in a few months and I’ve failed because of course I will and these words will humiliate me because I should know better and…” Sound familiar?
The Burner Journal
Now, you can “kill” your [read more]
One of my favourite times of the year is autumn and one of my favourite ways to hold onto the beauty and mystery that the season holds is to make ecoprints, steaming leaves I have foraged on my hikes into paper that I then make into cards, framed prints, or book covers.
Dying with plants is an inexact science but I have been doing this one for years and here’s hoping that some of these pointers will steer you in the right direction with your attempts.
Choose a robust paper. Anything under 130 g/m is likely to tear when it is wet. I tend to use a watercolour paper that is 300 g/m. It makes for a sturdy substrate that will then be a nice weight for working into a project.
Choose your leaves! Not going to lie, this is a bit of an art, and the more batches of prints you make, the more you find from trial and error what really pops in your finished pages. I can tell you that I have the best results from leaves that had fallen from the tree – do not take them from the [read more]
Okay, now that you’re here, I might as well tell you this is a trick. Oh, we are going to talk about ways to keep journals; in the weeks and months to come, we are going to talk about it a lot: about paper and laying out a page and formatting and lettering and you name it, but today, there is no so-called best way. What matters is that you clicked on this link because you want to keep a journal or diary – maybe just with words but maybe also with drawings or doodling or gluing or something. And you don’t know how to start.
It is possible you are an experienced journal keeper and do not need outside help. I think it is more likely that you are new at this or that you began and are now stuck. Maybe you bought a blank book and have never made a mark in it because it’s too good to write in. Maybe you have a plain-old, lined notebook that cost $1.29 and you think it’s not good enough.
Whichever it is, you are mistaken. What you need to start your journal is this: something to write on (handmade [read more]
So, let’s talk about ink. It is one of the bedrock materials for use in an illustrated journal, sketchbook, art journal, junk journal, or an array of mixed-media projects. There is fountain pen ink, plant based inks, pigments, dyes, acrylic ink, and tinctures and they can all be used to create backgrounds or highlights or washes or shadows in your sketches. Here are ten ways that you can use ink in your journal work. (Go all the way down to see the video!)
– Blots. Doesn’t get simpler than this. Dribble a bit of ink on a page then blot with another sheet then allow to dry. Depending on how much ink you use, you will either have a substantial, abstract background to draw or work on top of, or a smaller blotch. The shapes created by these smaller puddles of colour often suggest a drawing with this as its base. You can also make a blot by spraying liberally with a mister than allowing to dry or by folding the pages on top of each other for a dramatic smudge.
– Asemic writing is an abstract calligraphy, scribbled lines that suggest letters and in turn, words. (To see [read more]
To attend one of these workshops, please contact me and book in for a time that suits you. These are two hour sessions of intense teaching and creating, and you will leave inspired.
Art Play Date Workshop
Join artist Kelly Boler at her marina art studio for a playdate that includes one-on-one tuition and full use of an amazing variety of stencils, rubber stamps, inks, embossing powders, acrylic paint, pastels, watercolours, gel mediums, gesso, hot glue, paint daubers, watercolour pencils and crayons, die cutters, washi tape, and a huge assortment of paper ephemera. Also on hand is a library of art books filled with ideas for inspiration. Learn how to keep an art journal, make your own tag art, try out unfamiliar art supplies and techniques, or just play.
This playdate is ideal for absolute beginners as well as experienced crafters. Buy it for yourself or give to someone who might need a nudge with their creativity. Two hours includes use of all supplies, tuition on a variety of crafts, and a free starter sketchbook to work in and take home. £40 for an individual or £75 for two – bring a friend!
To make a date call or text: 0792 807 8866 or [read more]