Thursday, August 29, 2013

A background idea for a journal page.

I was asked how I did the water on the Life book page in the previous post so I am sharing my technique along with the way I stencil a background. 

I am using an altered book for this demo so I have already put tape down the spine. It stops the paint leaking onto other pages. I then coated the page with gesso and a light layer of blue acrylic paint.

 Step 1: I used a stencil and two dylusions ink sprays to colour the background. The aqua dylusions was a little strong so I put some into an old spray bottle and added a lot of water for a softer colour.
 When I lift up the stencil some of the colour has run underneath but I don't mind that look so I leave it to dry.  The page becomes a bit paler as it dries. 

Step 2: I start the water by drawing a few swirls across the page. Some of them go off the edge to make it look more natural. I have used a dark pencil here so you can see it better but normally I would use a light pencil or even a blue one to do the sketching.

 I add tails onto the swirls, connecting them up to the one next to them.

 I add more lines from the curled part of the swirl to the next one. I also fill in areas that are a bit blank with extra lines like the one at the top of the drawing.

 Step 3 : I use a flat brush (the one on the right) to paint the swirls with acrylic paint. I used blue paint that I added some green to. Some of the lead pencil will smudge. I also found that the dylusions tinted some of the waves a little green in areas.

 Step 4: I added a little white paint to the blue to make it lighter and painted it with the round brush over the swirls again. I try to paint along the top of each wave so that is keeps the bottom darker for shading.

 Step 5: I used more white to go over the waves again sticking to the top of each wave. I used a dryish brush for these highlights. I wiped it on a paper towel after I put the paint on the brush then used that on the page. It makes a softer look.

 Step 6: I used clean white to add a few more highlights to the waves. I started to shade the bottom of the swirls with a blue coloured pencil but I decided the white didn't look smooth enough.

I repeated step 5 with the pale blue mix and went over the waves again.

 I then repeated step 6 with the white paint for highlights but kept it a little softer this time. I should have done it like that the first time.
I then used the coloured pencil to outline the waves roughly. I did this by going over the pencil a couple of times. I finally added some white pen highlights on the top of the waves and randomly in other areas (see close up picture below). Now the background is finished and waiting for inspiration. 

In this closeup of the original painting you can see I used blue and green pencil in different areas to outline the waves.  The boat is a piece of paper that I cut to fit around the waves. It is lower than the top edge of the water. I also added some of the pink colours from the boat onto the waves. This helps to unify the painting and I will do the same to the new page when I add the images later.


  1. Thanks for sharing your process :0)

  2. Very cool! Thanks for sharing. I love the way it turned out. So pretty.

  3. wow this is the colors and the images...lovely!