Key Techniques for Your Most Creative Pages
As a mixed-media artist and surface designer, whenever I am at the beginning of a new project or trying to work through a creative block, I turn to art journaling. It’s a great way to play with paint and experiment with tools materials. But most importantly you can let your creativity wander without pressure and loosen up.
Creating backgrounds is my favorite part. The more organic and experimental you can be, the better it is. And then finding easy ways to add lettering where you want it can add the finishing touch to give your pages meaning.
So whether your creative outlet is exploring your faith artistically in your bible, making stunning art journals as art pieces in themselves, or using art journals as a jumping off point (or break) from your primary medium try some of these techniques from mixed media master Seth Apter and lettering diva Joanne Sharpe to get your creativity flowing.
Instant Inspiration: Learn and Make
Once you start playing with these techniques, you won’t want to stop! To keep the art party going we’ve created the perfect custom collection of art journaling video workshops jampacked with techniques and inspiration from Seth and Joanne. And, we have a coupon from our friends at Jerry’s Artarama for 20% off all the art supplies you need to keep on your mixed-media journey. Just head over to Jerrys Artarama and use the code: PEAK20B and start experimenting today!
Play with Printmaking
The trick to creating interesting backgrounds is all about adding layers. No one knows this better than Seth Apter. Here are some techniques for creating amazing depth and texture from his video workshop, Seth Apter Creative Workshop: 10 Techniques for Painting Layers in Mixed Media with simple monoprinting and embossing techniques.
- Canson Canva-Paper (or watercolor paper)
- Liquitex white gesso
- PaperArtsy Fresco Finish acrylics
- Paintbrushes (1/2″ bristle brush; small brush size 1 or 2)
- Water container
- Embossed wallpaper
- Baby wipes
- Paper towels (flat weave, no design)
Squeeze out some acrylic paint directly onto your paper and dry brush it to spread it around and make the first layer. Be sure to leave some white spaces to maintain an uneven and textured look.
Take a smaller piece of paper and dry brush a contrasting color of paint. Use this to print a second layer by pressing it down randomly all over your background.
To add more depth repeat Step 2 with the same small sheet and a different contrasting color. Take this opportunity to use a color you don’t typically use. Now you are building depth!
Step 4 and 5
Now it’s time to add some contrasting texture with simple embossing. Grab your white gesso and textured wallpaper samples. The gesso will act as a resist for future layers. Using a paintbrush, paint a layer of gesso on to a wallpaper sample and use it to print randomly all over your background.
For more depth let’s add translucent layers of color. Since the gesso will act as a resist, the paint will behave differently over the gessoed textures. Pour a small amount of contrasting paint in different spots on your paper. Use a water mister to spritz a little bit of water on each paint puddle to allow it to move around freely. Wad up a paper towel and use it to spread out the color. Remember, you are not looking for total coverage, but instead a layered and distressed look. Repeat with a second and third color.
Want to bring out some select highlights or knock back a color where too much was applied? Use a baby wipe to remove areas of paint and bring the white gesso through in select areas. As a finishing touch create a “frame” around the edges of your paper by loosely applying a contrasting color around the edges in couple spots. Spritz with a bit of water and rub with a paper towel. Now you have a stunning paper to use in your art journal!
Explore the Art of Lettering
Now that you have your gorgeous background paper ready, you have the perfect backdrop for showing off your love of lettering. But if you are like me, lettering can be intimidating. Joanna Sharpe has some great techniques for practicing lettering styles and trying out new pens and markers. Here are two great ways to raise your lettering game from her video workshop, Joanne Sharpe’s Inspirational Journals.
- Composition notebook
- Strathmore Watercolor paper
- Watercolor paint brushes, 6, 8 and 10 round
- Uni-Ball Signo UM-153 white gel pen
- Faber-Castell Pitt Big Brush Artist Pens
- Tombow Dual Brush Pen
- Copic marker
- Sharpie black permanent marker
- Uni-Posca white paint marker pen
- Molotow Grafx Art Masking Liquid Pump Marker
- Spray bottle of water
Lettering Practice Journal
Not quite ready to start adding lettering to your bible or art journal? Create a practice journal with a simple composition book. Have fun collaging your cover with decorative papers, washi tape and creative letterforms. Then use the book to practice different lettering styles with a wide array of pens and markers.
To start your first practice journal, pull out all your favorite pens and get some of the ones listed above to experiment with. With each pen, write down the name of the pen, practice some words and letter forms, then run a stripe of water over it with a waterbrush to see what happens. You’ll start to learn what each pen type and brand do and which ones are your favorites!
Using watercolor paper, create a simple accordion book to showcase your lettering samples with a variety of watermedia. These little books are great ways to explore lettering, color and techniques with a variety of markers, pens, and paints. Create a lettering theme for each one by illustrating your favorite words or quotes. Each page is a great way to make a small piece of art everyday!
Ready to start creating your special journaling pages?
You’re only one layer away from magic! Discover your true creative potential with this collection from mixed-media master Seth Apter and lettering queen Joanne Sharpe. Bring the pages most important to you to LIFE!
Looking for inspirational pointers for the pages of your journal or bible? Enjoy five tutorials on creating the perfect style of lettering to express your creativity through whimsical words and layers. Learn the top mixed media techniques with three video downloads from Seth Apter. Seth shares the principles to building the perfect collage, stamping, cutting, stenciling, color staining, using gesso and much more. Shop this collection now!
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