Journal52 is a FREE year-long online workshop. Each week a new prompt is given, and hostess Chelle Stein presents the steps she took to create her vision of the prompt. You can opt to have the prompts sent via email, join a (very active) Facebook group or Flickr group. It’s all under your control-no pressue. You can join in at any time, and share with the groups or simply enjoy working with the prompts.
I found this week’s prompt to be a challenge. Usually, I start getting visuals and ideas immediately, but nothing popped up this time. That’s why I love this technique that I learned from Pam Carriker’s ‘Creating Art at the Speed of Life’.
You just write words in different ways, different colors, and different directions. You draw boxes around them (or shade to give a brick effect as I did with this one) and Voilà! The words become elements of art. You don’t have to worry about drawing or need a lot of fancy products. You just need a theme (Art for a Cause, in this case) and lots of words that are related to the theme.
This is a great technique to use when you aren’t feeling especially creative or need a jump start or just want something different.
For those interested, I’ve written out my process for the background below.
I used Distress inkpads for the color in my background. There are different kinds of stamp pads. I used water-based dye inks. That’s the important thing for the techniques I used. This means that if you get the ink wet after you use it, it will smear and the color will lift away. (Note: if you DON’T want this kind of effect, you want Solvent stamp pads or Permanent Dye stamp pads).
I almost hesitate to show you these first steps because they get almost obliterated by the time the pages were done, and yet they add to the overall sense of texture. The important thing is not to invest to much time or get too attached to anything you do for this kind of background.
You want texture and color. Detail isn’t important, but some can add interest to the finished piece. The paper you are using will affect the result. My art journal is made from a cold-press watercolor paper. It’s smoother than most cold-press but not as smooth as hot-press.
So, I chose four stamps and stamped at random. I used Faded Jeans – any medium dark blue would do. Any stamps will do. Don’t worry about how well the image is stamped.
Then I dragged Spiced Marmalade and Picked Raspberry around covering most of the page. I knew I was going for a ‘brick’ look, so used lots of the Spiced Marmalade and a little of the Picked Raspberry. Any ‘earthy’ orange and bright pink color would work. Avoid neon colors, think ‘brick’, if you want to go this route.
I didn’t worry about covering the entire page, or about any streaks that appeared.
Next, I laid down a stencil and moistened the tip of a paper towel. I dabbed at the stenciled areas to remove color (you can keep the towel and tear of bits of it to use as collage in other pieces).
What I wanted were lighter areas here and there. I could have just dabbed at areas in random without using the stencil. But I wasn’t sure if I had enough words to cover the page, and having the butterfly shapes gave me the option of outlining and creating butterflies on my brick wall. I ended up not using that option. But it was there.
Next, I wet a brush and spread the ink, removing some, but not all of the streaks, until the entire page was well-covered.
I forgot to take a photograph of the next step. I took the Faded Jeans stamp pad and ran it around the edges of the page to make them darker.
Then I started writing my words with a Pigma Micron pen in the .08 size. Two important things here: I used the Micron because the ink is permanent, and wouldn’t smear if I decided to use more water. Also, paper as rough as I’m using will cause the Micron’s fabric tip to fray and shorten it’s life. I used the .08 size because it’s larger and sturdier. I also used an older pen that won’t last much longer anyway. I wouldn’t use a new pen on watercolor paper.
I used Wink of Stella Markers to color the words, except for the white, where I used a Gellyroll pen. I also used a brown Wink of Stella to shadow around the words and give a brick effect.
The Wink of Stella are a fabric-tipped marker. The tip isn’t much larger than the .08 Micron, but the ink flows more quickly and you can color faster than you can with Sakura’s Gellyroll pens. The same problem exists as with the Microns. The tip can be frayed because of the rough paper. The effect they give is subtly different from the Gellyroll Stardust pens, and I think they are easier to scan. They aren’t quite as glittery. (I did a review on these markers, if you want to know more. )