Friday, April 20, 2012

Life Book again

I have done another Life Book page. It was done mainly with watercolour crayons and pencils. The crayons weren't as smooth as I would like so I went over them with pan pastels for a smoother look. I also used sprays on the background. I am quite happy with the way this girl looks.

I have not had a lot of time for art in the past week or so. We are doing a big makeover of our back garden and I need to spend a lot of time out there while the weather is good. I have to get all the planting done while it is still autumn or the plants won't survive the hot summer months. They need to establish their root system over winter and spring. I probably will be away from the computer for the next fortnight but as I still try to do some art in the evenings I will have a bit to show you when I return.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Art Journal supplies

The other day I was asked about the art journal supplies I use. That is quite an interesting question.

I guess the supplies you need for art journaling depend on the sort of journal you want to make. Art journals have no rules, any thing goes. I have several art journals going at the moment, some are more for drawing people, some mixed media messy journals, a watercolor journal for zentangle inspired work and a daily sketch journal. In each of these journals I use a variety of different supplies.

 I use all the supplies I have collected during the past 30 years of art and craft. Some must haves for me are:

-Gesso. I use both a thick gesso when I want to add texture and I have a liquid Liquitex gesso that I use when I want a smooth surface for drawing on. I use it on a lot of pages but not all. 

-Gel medium or pva glue for sticking down things

- Flesh colored matte acrylic paint that I use as the base for faces. If you get a matte paint you can draw over it with pencils or markers and it gives the face a smooth look. Some people use watercolor crayons like I did for the previous post but it isn't as smooth.  I normally use an old bottle of Plaid FolkArt paint. The shade is Georgia Peach and is quite pale so sometimes I will add a little extra pink to darken it depending on the picture I am doing.

- Coloured pencils are a must have and I used to always use Derwents but have recently received a set of Prismas for Christmas. I like the softness of the Prismas but am disappointed with their constant lead breaking and splitting wood. I won't be replacing them when they run out. 

- Stencils add a lot of interest quickly. Even sequin waste can be used to stencil dots on a page for interest. I recently purchased some interesting stencils from Artist Cellar and look forward to using them more. Sometimes I stamp with bubble wrap instead of using stencils, it has a similar look.

- I like to use dye sprays, often with the stencils. It is a quick way to add a unifying color to a page that is patchy or not working. On the Frolicaholic page I painted the background with a pale green crayon then laid several stencils over the page. I used green and red spray over the stencils and left it to dry. It only took about 10 minutes. I use:
  • Tattered Angels Glimmer mist sprays -they are quite pale
  • MoonGlow Starburst sprays - they have a very strong dye base
  • Ranger Dylusions sprays - these spray inks are also very strong and hard to cover with paint so need to be used last.
- Paints. I have all sorts of paints that I like to use. Mostly in my journals I use acrylics. I use FolkArt brand paints if I want to draw on top of them with pencil. I do use Golden Fluid Acrylics occasionally but they leave the page shiny so you can't do a lot on top of them. Jacquard Lumiere paints are a metallic paint that I like to use as well.

-Markers. I mostly use water-based Tombow markers because I like the way they run when you spray water on them. I do also have a big collection of Pitt pens that are waterproof when dry. I have a few alcohol markers that will work over the Golden Paints but don't use them as often. If you like to do a lot of writing then a set of Sigma Micron Pens would be a good idea because they are permanent ink.

-White pen. A white pen is very handy for outlining and writing. A fellow artist told me about the Sharpie poster paint pen that is pretty good. I also use a white Signo Gel pen but make sure you get the broad one, it works much better than the regular Signo.

-Tissue paper and collage paper. I often glue tissue paper to a page before I start for added texture or use bits of scrapbook papers. Book paper and wrapping paper will work too as long as it is not too shiny.

-Stamps and inks. I have a bit of a collection of stamps that I like to use. The ones I use most in journals are considered background stamps, like script and swirls. Permanent ink like StazOn is a good idea if you don't want it to run. I also like flower and butterfly stamps. 

-Other things I use come from other crafts like scrapbook letters, brads, tags, pieces of material, sewing and embroidery threads. 
 This is a personal list of items that I like to use but every artist has their own favorites. It takes time to build a collection of supplies that you will like to use. A lot of art stores sell makers, pens, pencils and paints separately so I would buy one or two of each to find which brands you prefer before spending a lot of money on complete sets. The most important part of art journaling for me is using supplies that I love and having fun creating each page.

Derwent product testing

I was able to try out some new to me products at a local art store demonstration the other day. They were the Derwent Art Bar. It is a watercolour crayon that is triangle shaped. I was keen to see how well they worked as I have used the Caran D'ache Neocolor watercolor wax crayons in the past.

I was given some pastel paper to work on and drew a face. It is the first time I have drawn a face in public like that and I was very nervous. I used the Art Bar to draw the face and colour it as well. It took a little while to get used to the triangular shape but I liked the way the crayons went on. They are very soft and creamy. When I had a rough sketch I used a water filled paintbrush to blend the colour. It was a lot easier to blend than the Neocolors and looks a lot smoother. I only had to run the water over the top of the crayon and it spread like traditional watercolour. 

I could see so many possibilities for these wonderful sticks of colour that I wanted some for myself. Alas they won't be available in this country until July so I have decided to ask my Hubby to get them for me at Christmas. That way I can get the big set of 72 colors and don't have to feel guilty about it.

I will finish the face with pencils and add it to one of my journals. I like it too much to throw it away.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fun with art journals

I am having a lot of fun with the 21 Secrets workshops. I have just started Jane Davenport's class. It is called Frolicaholic and is very inspiring. I made a journal from scrap pieces of watercolour paper and bound it with some sequined ribbon I found in my stash of craft supplies. I bought it some time ago because it was so attractive but have used very little of it.
 I think I used to suffer from shopping fever when I went to a craft fair. I bought a  lot of stuff because it looked pretty or interesting. I stopped doing that a couple of years ago and now only buy things that will go into a specific current or future project. Meanwhile I am slowly making my way through my stash.

 The first couple of pages in my Frolicaholic journal. They are done using Caran D'Ache Neocolour II water soluble crayons, prismacolour pencils, glimmer mist sprays and stencils. The lettering at the top of the page is done with a stencil and outlined with marker. The other lettering was just done freehand.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

21 Secrets

I have started another art journal course called 21 Secrets. The link is in the side bar. The class went live on the 1st of April and I had a look at the site then. At first I thought wow, then as I started to look closer at all the workshops I felt a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of lessons there. I sort of got a little 'blank page' anxiety and didn't know where to start so I just picked a class that didn't look too involved and dived in. It was by Nolwenn Petitbois. The link for her blog is These are the pages I did.

They are a bit darker than I usually do. I can't give details of the techniques used in a paid class but it was quite a lot of fun. It didn't take too long to do, only one afternoon. It was a perfect introduction to the 21 Secrets course and I longer have a fear of what to do next. I will probably do a lesson a week unless I get bored and want to do them sooner than that. I think for $59 the course is extremely good value. It works out to a little less than $3 per workshop and it gives me a chance to experience classes with teachers from all over the world. It gives a little taste of their teaching styles and personalities. I am looking forward to more fun.