Below are some scans of vintage British wildflowers from The Concise British Flora In Colour by W.Keble Martin. I use the originals pages of these all the time in my altered books, art journals, and other collage and paper-based mixed media projects, and now you can, too. Just click on any of the images below for a larger version then right-click and copy it into your editing program of choice: I use Paint but Word is also handy.
While they are endless ways to use pages as beautiful as these, but if you are looking for further inspiration or just need some book-arts-eye-candy to get you warmed up, here is a video sharing some of my go-to methods, including:
- Printing on tracing paper
- Making borders
- Anchoring pages
- As collage elements
I would love to hear how your ideas and how you are going to use these, so please keep in touch or let me know if you have any questions. (If the darn comments aren’t working, send me an [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. So here is video that is short but will hopefully give a visual of some of the more hard to visualise parts about making your own ecoprints.
If you (like me) enjoy a tutorial that is printed as well as the video, here is a post to get you started:
Ecoprinting with Autumn Leaves
To see an older video that also has lots of fun details, here you [read more]
I sell quite a bit of vintage paper from my studio, from letterpress text to handwritten letters to just plain old antique book pages. Sometimes the happy new owner of these pages is off and running with using it her work but other times I get emails saying that it is beautiful but what do I do next? Can I really use it in my pages?
The answer is, you bet. Let me show you some of the ways you can incorporate old papers into your work. As usual, I am going to show most of these methods using my altered book but remember, you can do the same in your art journals, junk journals, collage, or any other mixed media project.
- Full page coverage. Using handwritten documents or letters is one of my favourite go-to ways to start a layout. It is fun and atmospheric and allows your focal points to shine, all at the same time.
- A variation on the full page cover is to mix and match it with the original underpage. I like to rough tear a letter in an irregular way and then glue it to the base so that you can see some layer. [read more]
This video is the first in a series on keeping a stay at home travel journal because just because we are not traveling these days doesn’t mean that we can’t keep a creative, cool record of our days, especially these crazy days. I want to start by talking about supplies, the tools that I carry with me to work on my illustrated journals, on the road and at home.
When I first discovered illustrated journal keeping I was told that the first, number one rule was – never go anywhere without your portable art kit on you. If you do this, if you are ready to work at any time. I am rarely without my supplies which means I can make pages in coffee shops, dr’s offices, parks, wherever I find myself. So let me introduce you to my portable art studio.
- Waterbrushes (I use Pentel)
- Variety of fineliner pens
- White gel pen
- Bamboo dip pen
- Scissors (mine are Cutter Bee)
- Pencil sharpener
- Portable watercolour kit
- Bag with pockets
Here are the links to some of the items I rely on. Note, I am not paid by any of these companies.
LIHIT Lab bags
Gallo Watercolour kit
Derwent Inktense Sticks
Please join me for lots of layers, paper scraps, water soluble techniques, blending, smudging, colour, and some tips on composition as we go through the process of creating an art journal page.
My art journal is where I can do anything I want. I don’t have to ask if it will sell or even express my Greatest Creative Vision. It is just for the heck of it and it is a great joy to just play around with bits of whatever. And stuff. Today I am going to explain some of the whys and ways I choose what goes on a page and what comes after that.
While almost everything on this page is from the scrap pile, I do use Derwent Chunky Graphite Sticks to pull it together at the end. (I use these A LOT.) You can find them here:
I also use a Caran d’Ache Technalo watersoluble graphite pencil. See them here:
Please subscribe to my online newsletter (on any blog page here) to receive a twice monthly missive with free tutorials, downloads, pep talks, and other whatnot in your inbox. Feel free to leave me a comment or let me know if you have any questions I [read more]
Recently I showed some mark making techniques for our art journal pages and mixed media work and to make it clearer and easier, I used misters to deliver the ink without explaining about them and a lot of you said, hey wait, what is a mister anyway? Basically it is nothing more than a small spray bottle. When filled with pigment, it is a versatile tool for getting your colour into your mixed media and art journal projects. I keep several with a variety of colours and intensities both for starting and for embellishing pages. This video should make things clearer.
You can buy them premade or you can make your own, and in that way choose your palette. Ranger has a line of mini-misters. They are in most craft stores and you can also order them online here and also here. Another (and cheaper) option is to just use spray bottles, the size used for getting your liquids past airline security. You find at any supermarket, online, in Poundland or the Dollar Store, or in any chemist or big box store. They are inexpensive and should last for ages.
Usually I use ink but they may [read more]
I never go anywhere without a sketchbook journal; it’s the best way to make sure you are working in it, no excuses, and using small bits of time here and there. While I usually use a most substantial journal there are times when it is too heavy to be practical, and then I want a smaller, lightweight book. But – I want it to be noteworthy, so I decorate them before taking them out. (We want compliments, don’t we?) Here is a video showing how I altered the softcover sketchbook above. Below this are some written instructions AND some high-res downloads that you can use to reproduce this book yourself.
You can usually find these soft cover journals in craft, stationery, or book stores. First I put down a messy layer of gauze. If you don’t have gauze you can use cheesecloth or other light fabric, or tissue paper, or skip this step. Over that I added a page from an old French army record book onto which I had stamped a bird’s nest. Now, you can use any page of your own that you fancy but here are some high-res scans that you can download or cut-and-paste [read more]
Okay, fine, let’s talk about that blank page anxiety. Again. Look, you have enough to be anxious about without worrying whether that white page in your journal or diary is glaring at you, daring you to write or work on it. People, this will not do. Instead, today we are going to look at a variety of mark making techniques that will jumpstart your creative engines by making a nice, grungy, comfortable, welcoming space to create on.
I keep a special tea cup dedicated to this technique alone. You can make messy circles using gesso. Or Ink. I like to combine a bit of colour to gesso. This makes a viscous medium that looks like chalk paint and also has remarkable depth. Add circles sparingly or go crazy and make bold patterns.
Drizzle or pour a small amount of liquid pigment – I am using my handmade walnut ink but you can use watercolours or acrylic thinned with water. Improvise. Smoosh it about on the page, then gently blot. You can now use this image as a messy, happy background, or you can draw into it, letting the blot tell you what it is meant to be. Alternatively, you can use [read more]
I don’t know about you but I am feeling on the lost side of things these days, dazed and confused. So what do you say we make a handmade map? If you keep journal pages you can add a map there and then you’ll know where you are. When this mess is all over, you can look at it and know that this is where you were. It’s fun, it’s simple, it is an easy way to feel as though you are making order out of chaos and that is really therapeutic right now. Also, it’s not fattening. So let’s go.
You don’t have to draw well to be a good cartographer of your life. Yes, you could do a fancier job but if you wait, you might not get around to doing it. (Sound familiar?) Hand drawn maps have a special charm and immediate quality and a diagram of your neighbourhood is a powerful tool for storytelling and memory keeping. (One of my most cherished maps is one I made of the walk I took every single day for years with my dog: it was so ordinary but now that my animal friend is gone, I can [read more]
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]