Collage Circle Journals

Circles make their way into my projects a lot! I haven’t figured out why that is yet, but I’m embracing it. And I will see where it takes me. This time it took me to a journal cover. Two to be exact. I posted a photo on Instagram last week before I made these into journals. I still can’t decide which one I like better. 

 

They are both made with painted and stenciled papers, stamping, and a bit of doodling. I love how bright and colorful they turned out! 

Paintbrush Tip

I'll admit that sometimes I'm a bit hard on my paintbrushes. I tend to leave them in my water glass for a days on end. This is a big no-no, but I do it anyway. Call me a rebel if you must. Well after doing this a few times, the tips of the small brushes can get a bit bend looking.

Here is how I fix that. I take a sharp pair of scissors and cut straight across. I now how something like a stipple brush. It doesn't serve it's original purpose but it works.

*Side note: I use synthetic bristle brushes. Mostly because I don't like the idea of using animal hair brushes, but they are usually cheaper as well. So, no animals were harmed in the making of this art. ;)*

Happy painting!

Current 5 Must-Have Supplies for Mixed Media

As I've been creating more mixed media projects, I've noticed I'm reaching for the same tools and supplies over and over. So I thought I would share those with you today. 

1) Blick Matte Acrylic Paint
Why I love it: It is thicker than cheap craft paint, but not as expensive as heavy body paint. It also comes in so many colors, but mixes well to make even more colors. I really like that it dries matte but I can mix it with a gloss medium to make it shiny. This gives me more dimension when I do a combination of both in a painting.

2) Heavy Gloss Medium
There are many brands that make a heavy gloss medium. This one just happens to be from Michaels. As I mentioned above, it works great with matte paints. But it also works great on it's own to give some texture and shine.

3) Small canvases
I most like painting on large canvases, but I've enjoyed stretching my creative muscles by painting on a few small canvases at once. 

4) Plastic Palette Knife
This is a fun tool for scrapping paint and mediums across the surface for a cool texture. I also use it scrap leftover paint off my palette or when applying texture pastes through a stencil. It's a versatile tool. You can also use an old hotel key card in a pinch!

5) My Junk Journal
I have a few of these that I work in spontaneously. When I'm painting, I like to keep one close by for any left over paint. I'm constantly wiping off my paintbrush in it or smooshing it on my palette to pick up some paint I'm not planning to use anymore. It gives me the start of layers for later when I want to art journal. 

What are your must have tools and supplies when creating?

Mandala Journals

I recently made a trip to Pittsburgh to visit my sister. (I'll share more about my trip in the coming weeks.) I'm sure I've mentioned before that my sister is a writer. Well that means she works through journals quickly. I do my best to keep her stocked. :) This trip she asked if I would make a journal for one of her friends who also happens to be a writer. 

These are the journals I came up with. I'm calling them Mandala Journals because of the circular pattern. I started with a piece of Gelli Printed photo paper. It has a really cool shiny and matte appearance that is hard to capture on camera. Then I used different paint brushes and tools to create marks in a circular pattern. I find it easy to start in the center and work out.

Then I attached a similar piece of cardstock to the other side and bound it in a simple journal. 

Quick and easy!

Layers, Ogres, and Paint

"Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers." -Shrek

There are two things that seem to always show up in my work: layers and reused materials. Today I'm going to talk about layers.

I love working in layers. It’s such a process all on it’s own. And everything changes from one layer to next. If I don’t like something, I know it can be covered up or altered. If I like something I can try to save it from other layers, but I can never truly protect it. Letting a painting evolve takes time and patience. Just like discovering our souls. People, like onions and ogres, have some many layers. And the more time we take to discover those layers the better human beings we become. Art is one way I discover my layers. With each painting or project, I leave a little bit of my old self behind and learn a little more about my true soul. Like onions, self discovery is not always a glamorous process. But it’s leading me to something much better. 

With the painting of this girl, I started with a layered green background. Then I sketched her face and started to paint her. I didn't intend to make her look like ogre, it just happened. I've noticed I usually paint faces in unnatural colors. As I worked on her more and more, I realized the background wasn't right. This happens to me often. The good thing is, the green background didn't go to waste. It was used to tint my new teal background. That's one of the cool things about layering- everything seems to slightly affect the next layer. 

So I hope that you are taking some time to peel back your layers. And don’t forget to laugh. Life is no fun when you take yourself too seriously!  
If you are interested in buying this canvas, you can check it out on Etsy!

Current Art Journal Spreads

I've spent the last four weeks working almost daily in my art journal. I did miss a day or two here or there. Here are the spreads I've worked on. I'll describe in more detail below each picture.

This page may be my favorite of them all! I really love the way the girl turned out in the end, even with her odd coloring. Here is a break down of how I completed this: 1) Covered both pages with white gesso. 2) Stamped flowers with black ink. 3) Stenciled teal dots. 4) Covered all with Picket Fence Distress Stain (this creates a whitewashed look) 5) Sketched outline of girl. 6) Applied several layers of white gesso within the sketch to cover the background. 7) Sketched then painted in eyes, nose, and lips. 8) Painted in her hair and added some gloss medium streaks to create some shine. 9) Typed the words on my typewriter and adhered to pink paper strips. 10) Adhered word strips and doodled around them.

This page may be my favorite of them all! I really love the way the girl turned out in the end, even with her odd coloring. Here is a break down of how I completed this:
1) Covered both pages with white gesso.
2) Stamped flowers with black ink.
3) Stenciled teal dots.
4) Covered all with Picket Fence Distress Stain (this creates a whitewashed look)
5) Sketched outline of girl.
6) Applied several layers of white gesso within the sketch to cover the background.
7) Sketched then painted in eyes, nose, and lips.
8) Painted in her hair and added some gloss medium streaks to create some shine.
9) Typed the words on my typewriter and adhered to pink paper strips.
10) Adhered word strips and doodled around them.

This page isn't completed yet. I had some ideas of where it should go, but it just hasn't materialized yet. I'm fine with that. Here is what I've done so far: 1) Generously cover both pages with white gesso. Both pages started with a lot of color and I wanted that covered up. 2) Added texture paste with dot stencil. 3) Apply watered down acrylic paint in teal and navy.

This page isn't completed yet. I had some ideas of where it should go, but it just hasn't materialized yet. I'm fine with that. Here is what I've done so far:
1) Generously cover both pages with white gesso. Both pages started with a lot of color and I wanted that covered up.
2) Added texture paste with dot stencil.
3) Apply watered down acrylic paint in teal and navy.

I'm pretty sure I would label this as my second favorite. Art truly does have healing powers! I did this page in a day, when I was feeling a little down. I have been feeling so much better ever since I got it out of me and onto paper. I'm sure creating this spread helped me mentally work through some things. Here is what I did: 1) Covered both pages with black gesso. 2) With white paint, sketched the outline of the flower. 3) Added pink and green paint details. 4) Added dots along the flower and on the background. 5) With more white paint, painted the lettering. The cool thing about working with paint is if you mess up you can cover it up. I made several mistakes with the lettering, but I just covered it all up with more black gesso.

I'm pretty sure I would label this as my second favorite. Art truly does have healing powers! I did this page in a day, when I was feeling a little down. I have been feeling so much better ever since I got it out of me and onto paper. I'm sure creating this spread helped me mentally work through some things. Here is what I did:
1) Covered both pages with black gesso.
2) With white paint, sketched the outline of the flower.
3) Added pink and green paint details.
4) Added dots along the flower and on the background.
5) With more white paint, painted the lettering. The cool thing about working with paint is if you mess up you can cover it up. I made several mistakes with the lettering, but I just covered it all up with more black gesso.

This spread took me the longest and I had the most breaks throughout. That probably says something about not taking too many breaks. Here is how I did it: 1) Cut painted paper into strips. 2) Collaged strips into the background. This took me several days working a few minutes at a time. 3) Applied watered down acrylic paint all over. This helps it look more like a cohesive background. 4) Painted the road. 5) Drew the camper. Painted with watercolor pencils. Cut out and adhered.  6) Wrote the title with Sharpie.

This spread took me the longest and I had the most breaks throughout. That probably says something about not taking too many breaks. Here is how I did it:
1) Cut painted paper into strips.
2) Collaged strips into the background. This took me several days working a few minutes at a time.
3) Applied watered down acrylic paint all over. This helps it look more like a cohesive background.
4) Painted the road.
5) Drew the camper. Painted with watercolor pencils. Cut out and adhered. 
6) Wrote the title with Sharpie.

As you can see, I have four very different art journal spreads! This has been a lot fun. I'm excited to keep going! Do you art journal? If so, I would love to see your pages! Just leave a comment below.

My Favorite Art Journal Backgrounds

I think at some point or another everyone fears a blank canvas. Yes, there are times when a shiny white blank page can excite you with possibilities. However, there are times when it can fill you with dread. Today I am speaking to the latter. It is much easier to deal with a blank page if you have a few quick, almost thoughtless techniques to turn to. Below are my top five favorites to just get something down. 

image.jpg

The picture above shows all five techniques. Going from left to right and top to bottom, I will explain how simple they are to create.
1) stencils- using a stencil of any kind and sponge or stiff brush, pounce your paint through the stencil to the paper underneath. This is great for covering a large area quickly. 
2) gesso or texture paste- using a scraper tool or old key card, scrap gesso or texture paste (or paint) through a stencil. This will give you a more sporadic look.
3) stamping- using a stamp or stamps of your choice cover the area with a repeat pattern, or use a background stamp to go faster. You will probably want to use a permanent ink so it run with other layers you'll add on top.
4) collage- use a gel medium or liquid glue to adhere pieces of paper, tape, fabric, or anything else you can find. This add color and texture quickly.
5) watercolor- using your favorite watercolor medium, apply a layer of paint over the area. You can also water down acrylic paint to make this layer permanent.  
Once you have a good first layer, you can use any of these techniques to add more. In the photo below, I did just that.

image.jpg

I hope this inspires you to create even when the thought of a blank page scares you a bit! Feel free to link to your projects in the comments below or send it to me at becreativeboutique@gmail.com.

DIY Art Journal

In case you haven't noticed yet, I really enjoy making journals and notebooks! I think this will be my third tutorial for a journal. But don't worry your pretty little head, I still have so many more to share! Today's journal is all about art. I like to think about the purpose for a journal and let that lead me through choosing the inside pages, cover design, and what extra elements to add. For this art journal, I wanted a mix of papers to spur creative ideas and allow for experimentation. I wanted the cover to be plain so I could decorate it when I had inspiration for it. And I wanted it to lay pretty flat.

Therefore, I decided to do a simple binding and pages of different weights and sizes.

To get started, pick out the different papers you think you want to include. Think about different sizes, textures, and colors. You could also include junk mail and envelopes. This type of binding is best for 10-30 pages depending on the weight of the papers.
Next, you will need to fold each paper in half to prepare for poking the holes.
You will want to create a hole guide so all the holes are consistent. To do this, take a piece of copy paper about an inch and half wide by the height of your spine. (My finished journal will measure 8.5 by 5.5 inches because my cover and largest papers are 8.5 by 11 inches. Therefore my spine is 8.5 inches tall. There are so many ways you can size your book. But the spine will always be where your fold is.) Fold the piece in half along the long side, then in half again, and maybe one more time. Now unfold and fold in half once in the other direction.

Each fold intersection will become a stitch hole. Take your awl or needle and make small holes in each intersection. The amount of stitches you have depends on the size of your book. Seven holes or even five, is plenty for my journal. I like to have my stitches about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart. In my opinion, it holds together well, without being too tight on the book.

Use the guide to poke holes in all the pages. 

Now you get to lay your pages together into a book in whatever order you like.

The last part is to bind everything together. I'm using a colored twine.  To bind it, I like to start in the second from the top hole. Then, I go in and out to the last hole and then back up. For a more detailed tutorial, check out this post

Here is a side view of my finished journal. I really like how it turned out! It's so colorful!

Art Journaling 101- the Kit

I've been doing light art journaling for a while. I say light because it has mostly been just cleaning my paintbrush off on the pages or testing stamps as I carve (more on that to come!). However, recently, I've been wanting to be more intentional with my creating. I sometimes struggle to come up with ideas or feel the ideas I have are somewhat stale. I've been reading about having a daily creative habit. I'll be honest with you. While I can be pretty hard on myself about things I “should" do, I also let things go when I lose the momentum. The longevity of a daily art practice scares me a bit. But hey, shouldn't I be doing more things that scare me? Fail or not, I'm sure I will learn something along the way. So in an attempt to create this daily habit, I started with one week. That one week finished yesterday and I’m now excited to keep going. Over the next four weeks, I’m going to take you through my process. Today we are starting my art journal kit. Next week, I’m going to show you how I made my journal. Then the week after, I’m going to show you how I get started with backgrounds. The last week, I will share with you the pages and spreads I’ve been working on along with some insights and what I’ve learned.

Below is the breakdown of my kit. I decided to use a kit so that all the tools and materials would be close at hand. I find sometimes I want to do something creative but don't want to have to pull everything out. Creating small art project kits is something I've been doing lately to counter this. I also felt the kit would make it easy to create on the go or just anywhere in my apartment if I want. I'm going to explain the different materials I have and why I included them. My list is long and may seem excessive. However, it all fits in a small box. It’s just a lot of little things.  

Basic Tools

Craft Sheet: (not pictured above) Actually this isn’t the whole sheet, just a pice of it. This is great for doing some coloring mixing or just sitting your wet paintbrush down without messing up anything. It’s really easy to clean with just a wet cloth.
Brayer: smooth out ink or paint on the surface; secure glued pieces
Fine tip scissors: These are really sharp and can cut fine details or larger pieces. And they are small and don’t take up too much space in my box. 
Toothbrush: Just in case I need to save time and brush my teeth while I work. ;) Jk. Dipped in paint and dragged across the page, this makes some great texture!
Palette Knife: also to smooth out paint or to mix paints
Small metal ruler: for measuring and drawing straight lines
Nail file: to add texture to edges of papers or elements or sanding rough pieces 
Dip Pen: in case I want to practice my lettering. I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy but I’m finding I don’t have the patience for the practice it takes. Maybe little by little I will get better various paintbrushes and sponges: for applying paints and mediums
Spray bottle with water: This can be used to clean brushes or tools, easily water down paints, or quickly wet your surface.
Resealable jar with water: I say resealable in case I travel with my kit. Water for quickly cleaning brushes to change colors.
Old Key Card: smooth a layer of paint or gesso so it has a little texture
Washcloth: to clean up messes :)
Various Paintbrushes and Sponges: for applying paints and mediums
Fantastix: This are fun for smoothing and mixing wet paints on the surface or for drawing with paints

Mediums

Archival Ink Pad: This a permanent, waterproof ink pad. That means you can use water based mediums like watercolors over the top without it smearing. I only have the black pad, but it’s actually made in many colors.
Silver Pen ink: I don’t have any other metallic in my kit and this seemed like a good way to add it.
Watercolor pencils: less messy way to do watercolors just not as vibrant
Distress Stain in Picket Fence color: This gives an easy white washed look. These stains come in a variety of colors, but this is my favorite. It has a sponge tip so there is no need for a paintbrush or sponge. 
Gesso: great for making the surface take the paint
Mod Podge: adhesive and sealer
Diamond Stickles: Its glitter but kind of clear so it goes with anything. 
Distress Reinker in Antique Linen: This comes as a dropper, so it makes large drops of brown ink. 
Sharpies: for quick lines
Various Pens and Pencils: for journaling text, drawing, sketching, whatever 
Blender pen: for watercolor pencils
Paints: I decided to just add a few colors so I put them in a few paint pots. I can refill them or change out the colors. The paint pots keep me having to pouring the paint onto the craft sheet to use them.
lue stick: An easy adhesive for small pieces

Stencils and Stamps

Stencils: I love using stencils to create the backgrounds
Stamps: All but the alphabet are hand carved by me. I’m loving these whimsical designs! These are great for backgrounds and focal points. 
Date stamp: I want to keep track of when I finish a spread

Paper and Embellishments

Paper: I have paper sized about 4.25 by 5.5 (this is is how I store my scraps). This is a selection of painted, store bought patterned, color cardstock, and tracing paper. I also have some brown coffee filters because I like they look in the background.
Die cuts: I have a several small doilies, tags, small envelopes, and punched circles. I could use these as collage elements or a focal point. They are really versatile. 
Embellishments: I have vintage stamps, pieces of yarn and ribbon, buttons, and brads. These are also versatile. I’ll have to see how I end up using them. 

You made it to the end! I know this is a wordy post, but I wanted to cover everything. Don't forget to check back next week for the details on making your own journal. If you have any questions, please let me know!