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]
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]