Journal52 Prompt-Week 34: Alphabetical #Journal52 #ArtJournal #ArtJournaling

Now I know my ABCs!  An idea for this prompt came pretty quickly, though it didn’t work out quite as I’d planned.  That’s pretty common, lol!

For those interested, my process is written up below.

Before I start the process, I thought I’d explain a couple of the concepts that I used to help in my decisions regarding colors and the supplies I used–temperature and Opacity vs Transparence.  If you’re familiar with these, just jump right to step 1.

Temperature: I was going for an icy look, but think I achieved more of a neon glow.  This is partly because of the temperature choices I made, using mostly cool colors-greens, blues and purples.  But the cool colors are all on the warmer end of the cool spectrum.  Confusing?

With color, temperature refers to how hot or how cool a color seems to be.  On one end you have fire, and on the other end you have ice.  Reds, yellows and oranges are considered warm and blues, greens and purples are cool (you’d think it would be ‘hot and cold’, but the color terms are ‘hot and cool’).  However, it gets tricky because some pigments are never pure.  Some reds tend to yellow and some to blue, so you might have a cool red.  But a cool red will probably still be warmer than warm blue. Then you have the neutral or earth colors, the browns and grays which can go either way.

One of the prevailing theories is that warms colors seem closer, while cool colors are more distant.  Many artists prove this isn’t always true, but it is something to keep in mind.  More importantly, you can give a composition, a layout, more cohesion by having both cool and warm colors with one or the other temperature being dominant.  Cool is dominant in this journal page, the metallic brown being the only really warm color.

Opacity vs Tranparency:  I chose white for my ABCs because it is opaque.  I chose the colors I used for the background because they are transparent or translucent and would allow the stamped background to show, and provide contrast for the opacity of the white.

With pigment (vs light) the main thing that causes opacity is white.  The more whit in a color the more opaque it is.  There are other factors–watercolors are inherently more transparent than oils or acrylics, for instance, but all three still have some color that are transparent or opaque (for the purposes of my explanations–translucence and semi-opaque are more or less the same thing).

A color that has tranparency–is transparent–can be seen through.  It can be as clear as glass, or translucent, where you might see text or other color underneath, but it is shadowy and indistinct. An opaque color completely covers what is underneath.  If you cover a blue with a transparent yellow, the blue stays the same or changes very little.  If you cover a blue with a translucent yellow, you get a green because you still see some blue as well as yellow, and the colors mix visually.  If you cover blue with an opaque yellow, you get yellow, even though the blue is darker.

The Daler-Rowney Graduate Acrylic paints I used in the background are extremely transparent. They also have a metallic sheen which seems to up the feeling of warmth in the color.

So enough of the tricky stuff, lol.  The steps I took were actually pretty easy.  That’s often the way it is. If you know enough about your mediums, so you know how to choose, the steps are easy.  If you still screw up–as I did somewhat here–you can switch gears easily enough.


1. I have this alphabet stamp sets that I picked up cheap somewhere.  I left them in their box, inked them up and then turned my journal page-side down onto the inked set.  That made it easier than trying to stamp individually or keep the stamps from falling out, if I turned the box upside down.

At this point, I wasn’t sure what mediums I would use so I used StazOn, a solvent based stamp pad.  It works well with almost any medium except alcohol markers like Copics or Sharpies.

I did know that the stamped characters would be covered over, so I didn’t worry about getting the images perfect.

2. I chose Daler-Rowney Graduate Acrylic paint (Metallic Green and Metallic Brown).  I chose these because they are very transparent–see how well the stamped characters show through.  I also picked one that was cool and one that was warm.  As soon as I put them down though, I realized both were warmer than I expected (my mistake–I use these a lot and should have known).  Easy enough.  Instead of icy I went more for neon.

3. After penciling in (you can see the indentations from the pencil) and then outlining with a Pigma Micron pen, I used Antique White acrylic paint to fill my ABCs.  I chose a white that had a touch of yellow (warmer) and that seemed to complement the metallic brown in the background.  If I had still been trying for icy, I would have picked a zinc white.  Zinc white is more blue than this antique white and more opaque than titanium white.

4. Before the Antique White had time to try, I began added some Sky Blue.  I mixed it with the white on the page.

5. I used the same blue to paint the shadows, and then added a metallic purple from Folk Art, that is more opaque than the Daler-Rowney Graduate.  Again, I mixed the two colors on the page.  At this point I let the paint dry.

6. Once the paint was dried I did some detailing using a Turquoise Copic Doodl Pack. I used the BG13 Mint Green Ciao Marker, Turquoise atyou Spica Glitter Pen, and Multiliner Pen in Gray to add some separation between the ABCs and their shadows, and to pick out some of the stamped characters in the background.  I didn’t use the BG10 Cool Shadow Ciao Marker.  It’s very light and very transparent, so it wouldn’t have shown up.

7. I hadn’t drawn the shadows very well, and I wasn’t happy with them.  I thought I’d try making them darker and change their shape a bit, so I used a Faber-Castell Big Brush pen (Cold Grey III).  These are India Ink fabric-tipped markers with a wide tip.

8. I still didn’t like the shadows.  It came to me that I could obscure the shape.  Even though I had moved away from the idea of ice, I decided to go with part of my original idea.  I added more of the Antique White in swirls, like frost coming off of ice.  In real life, the frost would break up the shadows, so that gave me an excuse to blur them.

9.  I quit taking photos at this point, because I was adding a little of this and a little of that.  I played with the direction of the brush-strokes and making the shadows seem lighter by darkening the area around them. I’m still not completely happy, but after 2-3 tries, it is always best to walk away for a week or two.  I may come back and play some more, or I might find I’m quite happy after I forget the vision I had in my head to start with.


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