Laura Lavender’s Lettering Lesson, Heraldry-Inspired Lettering (Volume 21), will send you back in time for inspiration. Learn about supporters, banners, and decorative elements with regal roots, and build a custom design. Add new styles to your hand-lettering repertoire that will give a historic feel to your art. Then, create an inspiring piece that incorporates your hand lettering with these heraldry-inspired designs for a hand-lettered piece that’s both elegant and fun.
Provided with a few different fonts to try out, I played around with the letters for a while, and really loved the style of these fonts. They have an elegance and formal feel that was easy to work with.
This lesson has plenty of heraldry-inspired designs to choose from. I selected a few and added some of my own. Working with a mechanical pencil, I traced Laura’s unicorn image, as I decided to create this piece for my granddaughter. Laura’s suggestion to flip the supporter image was a good one, so both sides matched, and easily done with the aid of a sunny window for tracing.
I built the sketch from there, adding a large shield with a C and a banner below. Given my choice of unicorns, I added stars and small dots for a whimsical feel. I chose Lombard-inspired letters for the C and the name on the banner. I had had the most fun with that style when practicing, and thought it fit this piece.
Watercolors and a detail brush made adding color to this piece a breeze. The unicorns had to be flashy, so, after mixing a silvery gray for their bodies, primary colors were called for for their manes and tails. I mixed some pink for the lettering and the shield and banner, added yellow to the stars, and finished with small blue dots surrounding the stars.
Add a royal feeling to your hand lettering with this Lettering Lesson and the heraldry-inspired designs and fonts.
Artist Susan Black makes wonderfully vibrant collages inspired by flowers and floral motifs—and in this article, she’ll show you how to create your own. Susan starts with coffee-stained watercolor paper, then layers simple geometric shapes cut from tissue paper with bits of ephemera, doodle-style drawing, and mark making. Ready to get started? Follow Susan’s instructions for the complete botanical collage tutorial. This project also appears in our July/August 2013 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.
Botanical Collage, by Susan Black
I’m always inspired by nature and especially by flowers and floral motifs. About five years ago, I began experimenting with adding cut paper shapes (collage) to my then more conventional gouache and ink nature illustrations. It was just the thing, that extra-special something I’d been looking for to add to my already whimsical, modern style of illustration.
After discovering a watercolor artist who was using coffee as the first wash of color on her papers, I was inspired to create the same vintage effect in my work. Paper had already become a regular medium in my artwork and I had developed quite a lovely paper stash, which included worn yellowed text paper (old letters, books, atlases, ledgers, encyclopedias), tissue paper (for its vibrant color and translucent quality), and sewing pattern tissue (for its transucency, its neutral color, and the unusual printed marks, symbols, letters, and numbers. The graphic designer in me loves those random marks).
Combining all of these elements—a sheet of coffee-stained watercolor paper; a few simple geometric shapes cut from tissue paper, old book pages, and sewing patterns; a bit of layering; and lots of doodle-style drawing and some mark making—my Botanical Collages were born.
Often I find floral inspiration purely from my imagination, using stylized simple circles and leaf shapes to make up my compositions. But lately I’ve been trying to be more inspired by actual botanical sightings while I’m out each day walking with my dog, Winnie. For the pieces shown here, I took photos in the park of gorgeous, dried cone flower seed heads and picked a bouquet of them to bring home for future reference.
Small, fine (I use size 0, 00, and 01.)
Watercolor paper (I generally use either 9″ × 12″ or 5″ × 7″ sheets of hot-press Fabriano® watercolor paper.)
Hair dryer (One with a diffuser is best.)
Tracing (I use Canson® tracing paper.)
Colored: tissue, decorative, envelopes, etc.
Neutral, assorted: text, letters, maps, book pages, etc.
Window, light box, or transfer paper
Pens: nib, colored, gel, and paint
Acrylic ink (I use Daler & Rowney inks.)
Scissors and/or utility knife and cutting mat
Glue pen (I use Zig® brand.)
Gel medium (I use Golden Artist Colors®.)
Paper cutouts and/or small collage pieces
Flat embellishments: sequins, glitter, etc.
Making the background
NOTE: I like the slightly off-white creamy color and the smoothness (lack of tooth) that hot-press paper has, but if you like the texture that tooth provides, by all means cold-press paper will work just as well.
1. Saturate the 2″ brush with black coffee and cover most of the interior of the watercolor paper with the coffee. (Figure 1) I like to leave the edges plain.
TIP: I usually try to stain many sheets, large and small, at one time so that I’ll have a good stock of coffee-stained pages ready to go when the collage bug hits me.
2. Dry the page with the hair dryer, gently tipping the paper and allowing the coffee to run and pool as you dry it. The coffee stain will create a natural beige edge that is organic, accidental looking, and beautiful. Keep tipping and turning the paper as you dry it to create swirls and drips and some darker areas.
TIP: Imperfections add character to the piece. Don’t worry if a dribble runs off the page or an area seems too dark or gets missed completely. In the end you’ll be glad for these happy mistakes.
1. Make a rough, pencil compositional sketch on tracing paper. (Figure 2) (If you’re comfortable proceeding without a pencil sketch, dive right in.)
NOTE: I like to lay my tracing paper paper on the coffee-stained background
when I’m sketching.
2. Once you have a sketch that you’re happy with, go over it with ink. (Figure 3)
3. Transfer your drawing to the watercolor paper. (Figure 4) This can be accomplished with a light box, transfer paper, or by holding the sketch up to a window with the watercolor paper over it.
TIP: Another option is to rub a soft lead pencil on the underside of your drawing, place the drawing on top of the watercolor paper, and then trace over the drawing (on the top side) with a pencil, transferring a light copy of the drawing to the watercolor paper below.
4. With the sketch under the watercolor paper on your work surface, create a hinge with the artist tape at the top of the watercolor paper so you can flip it up and down as needed to refer to the details in the sketch underneath.
Choosing a palette
Go through your paper stash and pull out pieces that you think go well together. (Figure 5) I like to keep my palette simple and prefer the pale cream of vintage book pages and black for my neutrals, adding one predominant color or color scheme (hot colors, cool colors, all neutral with black). I find simplifying my palette makes for a stronger design. Too many different colors can be distracting.
Creating the collage
1. You can add the stems and leaves two ways: outline or paint. Use the nib pen or the fine-tipped watercolor brush to draw in the outlines of the stems and leaves. (Figure 6) This will keep the line quality looser and more natural than a standard pen, and it will add more character. To paint them, fill a waterbrush with acrylic ink or gouache, which can be used opaque or watered down to create translucent areas, and paint the stems and leaves. (Figure 7) When it dries, it’s waterproof.
2. Trace the individual collage shapes onto the chosen papers, cut them out, and audition the composition. Play with different ideas, keeping in mind the layering aspect. For example, if I’m going to layer a large translucent shape over another shape, I’ll want to make sure that I’ve added any drawing or mark making to the shape underneath so that those marks show through. This makes for a more complex and interesting finished piece.
3. Once you are happy with the composition, glue the pieces in place. I never glue anything down until I have all my elements cut out and in position. I love glue pens for the ability to glue tiny little bits and edges, but I prefer gel medium for adhering the larger elements.
4. Paint gel medium over the tops of all of the pieces to seal the edges.
5. Finish the collage by adding more marks. Add seed marks and highlights on the leaves or doodle with the pens. I like to use pens that match my palette. Paint stronger brushstroke outlines to add emphasis. Do some stamping, and consider adding other collage elements as flourishes.
Susan Black is a designer/illustrator living the good life in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada. She has a unique and bold mixed-media style that combines collage, hand-drawn typography, gouache, and ink. Susan is a passionate photographer and keeps a daily blog of life in and around her home. Her biggest inspiration is always found in nature. Visit her online at 29blackstreet.blogspot.ca.
What shape is your mixed-media library in? Maybe you need a dose of instruction and inspiration, especially on days when the muse needs a little nudge. If that library needs some new acquisitions, we have just the resources for you. We’ve chosen two standout books in six categories of mixed-media art that you shouldn’t be without. Read on to see why we think these books are must-haves for your collection. – Barb and Jeannine
Hand lettering: Hand lettering is great as stand-alone art, but it can also be the icing on the cake on a painting, a collage, or a page in an art journal. I’d like to recommend a couple of books to add to your hand-lettering resources. In Artful Alphabets: 55 Inspiring Hand Lettering Techniques and Ideas by Joanne Sharpe, you’ll find everything you need to create all kinds of alphabets, including ways to develop a new one of your own.
Even if you don’t particularly like your hand lettering, Joanne shows that there are plenty of ways to dress up the most humble letter and turn it into something you can’t help but love. Create scenes within block letters; add stripes, dots, or flowers to letters; fill letters with color; and lots more. Joanne proves that no matter how simple a design or basic a drawing, both will add style and presence to your hand lettering.
Round out your lettering skills and your mixed-media library with Creative Lettering Workshop: Combining Art with Quotes in Mixed Media by Lesley Riley. After discussing a variety of ways to overcome the fear of using hand lettering in your art, and especially of adding it to a completed piece, Lesley provides lots of projects to get you started and build your confidence. Don’t miss the gallery of great art that’s sure to inspire you to give hand lettering your favorite quotes a try. – Barb
• Art journaling: Art journaling may be just one aspect of mixed media, but it encompasses an abundance of techniques, materials, and styles. These two book picks may be a little different from what you’re expecting, but hear me out. The first is Artist’s Journal Workshop by Cathy Johnson, which encourages artists to create journals as a regular part of daily life, recording places, people, and events, both large and small. Johnson offers so many ideas for incorporating text, creating cohesive page compositions, rendering nature, and staying motivated to create, that you’ll find yourself reaching for this book again and again for ideas.
My second recommendation is Shimmer and Shine Workshopby Christine Adolph. This book may not have art journaling in the title, but Adolph includes breathtaking ideas for adding a hint of shine that can be effortlessly incorporated into art journals. This book stands out in my mixed-media library because it includes techniques for adding sparkling foil accents with a glue stick, using surprising materials like bleach, getting the most out of metallic paints, and incorporating ephemera with a bit of sparkly bling. These techniques offer unique ways to make your pages stand out, and they easily mesh with any style. – Jeannine
• Collage: Let’s talk collage. Every piece of art tells a story. Some stories are easy to read, while others are hidden in the layers of the piece. Collage is a perfect example of this. In Storytelling with Collage, Techniques for Layering Texture & Color, Roxanne Evans Stout shows readers how to notice their surroundings and then use what they see and find—papers, flowers, sticks, a sunset, and more—to tell a story.
Roxanne offers inspiring vignettes and artwork to help jumpstart your imagination, presents tasks and challenges, and provides plenty of guidance and ideas for gathering materials and using them in creative ways. If you are great at collecting inspiring bits, but have trouble building a collage, add this book to your mixed-media library and start telling your stories.
Here’s a thought: Listen to your intuition when a bit of ephemera, a paper scrap, or that tiny shell catches your eye and let The Art of Expressive Collage: Techniques for Creating with Paper & Glue by Crystal Neubauer guide you in using these inspiring fragments. Crystal says, if something grabs your attention, grab it! It may just be the missing piece in a story. Learn to use photos in collage, create depth and texture, use faux writing, add dimensional elements, and much more. Let go of the rules, and unleash your creative self. The projects in this book will help you learn to trust your instincts and create the collages you’ve been dreaming of. – Barb
• Doodling: Doodling is a perfect fit for mixed-media, since drawing intricate, whimsical, and repetitive patterns can easily mix with art journaling, collage, painting, handmade books, jewelry, and much more. Two books in this category stand out for what they offer artists at all levels. Zentangle Untangled: Inspiration and Prompts for Meditative Drawing by Kass Hall is great for getting started in Zentangle, but also for taking your art further.
The book begins with step-by-step instructions for classic patterns, then shows how to add color in a variety of ways and with an array of mediums; how to create borders; create shapes and lettering, and much more. It’s an indispensible resource.
If you’re itching to forge your own doodling path, Creative Tangle: Creating Your Own Patterns for Zen-Inspired Art by Trish Reinhart is what you need. The book includes wonderful inspirational patterns, with an emphasis on developing your own designs. She shows how to do that with examples of a wall hanging, doily, plants, fabric, and more inspired patterns.
Then you’re off and running with projects that include doodling gift wrap, picture frame mats, stationery, lettering, and fabric. Creative Tangle shows that when it comes to artful doodling, there are no limits. – Jeannine
Create a color chart and explore techniques such as glazing, wet-on-wet painting, and blending. Gina’s step-by-step process involves simple sketching (and getting comfortable with drawing), and then adding watercolor. This is not a traditional approach, but it is one that will make painting with watercolor a lot less intimidating and help build your confidence. If you’ve wanted to try painting with watercolor, add this book to your mixed-media library today.
Learn the essential building blocks for a successful painting—values, color, and brushwork—and enjoy a much freer painting experience. Five technique exercises help you hone your skills, and five painting demonstrations guide you through every aspect of painting a variety of scenes and still lifes. Add this book to your mixed-media library and find a whole new world with acrylic paint. – Barb
• Encaustic and cold wax: Encaustic art is a slippery slope of pure artistic fun. Once you see the potential for the tons of techniques, tools, and materials you can use, it’s tough to stop. Encaustic Revelation by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch is aptly titled; working with encaustics is an eye-opener, and the book takes you through every phase of this captivating art form, starting with materials and set-up and segueing to tons of innovative techniques.
If you’ve tried encaustic, no doubt you’ll discover even more ideas from a variety of artists, like working with Procion dyes, printmaking, creating landscapes, and sculpting with fabric.
Encaustic wax isn’t the only way to get a textured, dreamy, layered look, and in Wabi-Sabi Painting with Cold Wax Serena Barton shows how to achieve a variety of styles using cold wax mediums. Lots of step-by-step techniques, plus galleries of gorgeous artwork by various artists, help you build your confidence and grow your mixed-media practice by leaps and bounds. – Jeannine
Mixed-media art and recycling, upcycling, and repurposing were made for each other. The Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine features a fantastic recycled jewelry project from Debbie Blair that incorporates altered game pieces and rubber washers, plus tons of great jewelry techniques. Debbie’s piece inspired me to dig through my stash and channel my creativity to see what I could transform.
I started with game pieces. Debbie alters checkers in such a way that you don’t even know they’re checkers, becoming such a fun and unexpected component to her necklace. I found some vintage wooden bingo markers that I thought would be eye catching. I made two pilot holes with an awl at the top and bottom of the pieces, then drilled through them. This allows me to easily connect the pieces with other elements.
The edges of the markers were painted with acrylic paint and a flat brush, but a paint pen would work well too.
Buttons always work well in recycled jewelry, so I chose a few vintage ones, leaving some as is and coloring others. This time I used Prima Art Alchemy Metallique Wax in Aged Brass. The mother-of-pearl buttons were first sanded to create some tooth, then the wax was applied with a brush. When dry, the color is permanent. I love the vintage patina it gives.
Time to start assembling. I used Debbie’s wire wrapping technique to connect the pieces, also incorporating pearl and bead stations. If you haven’t tried wire wrapping before, be prepared—once you get the hang of it, it’s completely addictive. And don’t worry if you don’t get it right away. Like anything else, practice is key. I hadn’t done this technique in a while, so I followed Debbie’s steps and eventually got back in the groove. But it took a little wire to get there, as you can see below from my mangled pile of failed attempts. So don’t lose hope or get frustrated—just keep at it. Remember, repetition is the key to mastery.
Here are the components joined with wire wrapping; I made two pieces for each side of the necklace. Check out Debbie’s article to see the other techniques she incorporates for her recycled jewelry: stamping on metal, wrapping rubber washers with ribbon, and doming metal blocks. They’re all doable and can be used in a variety of combinations.
I wasn’t sure what to use for a focal piece, so I rooted through my stuff again and found the perfect item—a vintage spool of mending thread, barely ¾” high. I decided not to alter this piece, since it already had great texture and color. To complete the necklace, I added two more wire—wrapped buttons at the top and bottom of the spool, then created a tassel using pearl cotton embroidery thread. Debbie’s tassel instructions made this a breeze to finish, and I love the way she wraps wire around the top—such a great detail that really sets it apart.
Metal chain was added to the top of each wire-wrapped piece to add length, and I attached a closure. My necklace was ready to wear! I’m now hyper-focused on what else I can adapt to become recycled jewelry. Artists are natural out-of-the-box thinkers, but sometimes we all need a little inspiration. That’s why articles like this are so helpful—they teach us new techniques and help us see things with fresh eyes that can spark incredible ideas.
Don’t miss “Game On” and other fantastic art projects and features in the Fall issue. Get a preview with our lookbook, which features beautiful photos of the projects!
Discover exciting and creative ways to explore art journaling in the new book The Painted Art Journal by Jeanne Oliver. In this excerpt, Jeanne shows how to incorporate finished artwork into a fresh art journal spread. Jeanne is also our Artist of the Month for August—check out her exclusive kit below!
Oftentimes we come into our creative space and think we have to start from scratch each time. We reinvent ourselves, our art, our stories when perhaps what is already unfolding is right where we are supposed to be at that moment. Maybe we just need to sit with it a bit longer. I think I have learned the most about these kinds of art processes and the ebb and flow of being a creative (and living a creative life) by studying the masters.
Have you ever thought sketching was a waste of time and you just wanted to get on to the main show in your mind, which may be painting, collaging, sculpting, etc.? I know there were years I felt that way until I intensely studied the life and works of Vincent van Gogh. He sketched with graphite, ink and charcoal for years before he ever picked up his paintbrush. Those brushstrokes that make me swoon and his authentic marks were developed and created in his practice. In fact, his style was born out of sketching the people and places all around him all of the time. He was constantly looking at his world and wanting to capture it. Those studies later became the works for which he is known. Nothing was wasted.
I have often created one piece of work that I loved and then felt the pressure to make the next great thing for myself. But then I studied Henri Matisse and saw how he used the same model for years, painted the same piece over and over, making adjustments each time and often using the same props but rearranging them. He actually studied his own works and improved upon them. Maybe staying put for a while and learning from your own work isn’t a bad place to be.
Let’s take a look at the art that you already made and love, and use it to make something new! Using copies of your own work and some words that are just for your eyes, we will create a layout that shows new ways to use old work.
What You Need:
Gesso: clear, black and white
Ink-jet printout of an existing journal page
Vintage book pages, paper and other collage material
1. Apply a thin layer of clear gesso to a new journal spread and allow it to dry. Next, add black gesso with a large brush, leaving some areas where the journal page shows through. While this is drying, print out an image of your work on an ink-jet printer using photocopy paper. Spray the print with a workable fixative so you can add more mediums without smudging the ink. After the fixative has dried, adhere the print to your journal using matte medium. Add some white gesso to give the illusion that the piece is a part of the journal and to soften the sharp edges of the paper.
2. Take a small stack of vintage book pages and on each page write some part of your story that made you who you are today. After you have added your words, bind it up with string and lightly burn the edges with a match. Hold this bound stack of pages over a sink while you are burning the edges. Using matte medium, adhere your secret thoughts to the right-hand side of the your journal.
3. Extend design elements such as lines, shapes, color and values already within your reproduced art out onto the journal pages. In this piece I was able to extend the flowers and also some of the original sketch marks by mark making through wet gesso. (To find the step-by-step instructions for making the flowers, see Chapter 9 in the book.).
4. Using the lines already strong in the original work of art, I brought in vintage ephemera to continue the lines and also to bring a stronger design element to the new piece. This was accomplished using vintage papers and book spines adhered with matte medium. Look for strong lines in your own reproduced art that can be extended by sketching, twine, vintage papers, paint or more.
5. Using a mechanical pencil, create marks and natural scribbles that help connect the two pieces. If you get stuck, refer to your collected mark making and symbolism.
Make what you love. Use what you love.
Take note of what you are doing that you love. What marks do you make that feel natural? What symbolism do you want to repeat in different ways within your work? What piece have you recently created that you could study, paint again and make better or different? Where did we ever get the idea that each piece has to be so different from the piece before? Don’t you want to know your brushstrokes, your palette, your subject matter? That comes with being comfortable in a creative space and letting it naturally unfold and grow.
Jeanne Oliver grew up in rural Illinois and now resides in Castle Rock, CO. She is inspired by our personal stories, travel, and nature. Jeanne uses art to tell her current stories and also those of growing up among gravel roads, cornfields and early life surrounded by open spaces. Through mark making, layers, and mixed media, she hopes to convey that we all have a story to tell. Jeanne is married to her dream maker, Kelly, and the mother of three funny and creative children. She homeschools her children, even though she has tried to get out of it a few times. You can often find her hiking, creating in her studio, and finding an excuse to have another cup of coffee. She speaks and teaches all around the country, and sometimes she even gets to cross the pond. She was told that she needed to find that one thing, but she doesn’t like listening to directions, so she embraces many loves. That has given her a sweet mash-up of family, art, and travel. Connecting with women and sharing that each of us has been creatively made is one of her passions.
Need some new art journaling ideas? We have a fun one to share with you today from mixed-media artist Jenn Olson. Jenn likes to combine doodling and collage to make unique art journal pages filled with layers, depth, and color. Follow Jenn’s tutorial below to try it for yourself! This article first appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Zen Doodle Workshop magazine.
Add Some Layers to Your Zen: Doodling Over Collage, by Jenn Olson
It wasn’t until about two years ago that I discovered the way I had always drawn—with curves, curls, and interwoven lines—had a name. If you tend to draw this way, this technique might become a favorite. I typically use this method for creating journaling pages, but if you’re adventurous, try it on a canvas.
Journaling paper (I prefer something heavy enough to handle wet media.)
Gel medium (I used Golden® Soft Gel Matte medium.)
Foam brush, chip brush, or an expired gift card
Collage papers, a variety (I use catalogs, maps, book pages, envelopes, and more.)
Miscellaneous craft supplies (I used washi tape, masking tape, shape punches, doilies, etc.)
Tape runner (I used Scotch® 3M adhesive runner.)
Paints (I used watercolors and thinned acrylics.)
Pens (I used Faber-Castell PITT® artist pens in a variety of tip widths.)
Crayons, watercolor pencils, colored pens, etc.
1. Lay a thin coat of gel medium on your paper with an inexpensive foam brush, a chip brush, or an expired gift card. Adhere your collage papers to the gel medium. Apply more gel medium over the top of the papers as needed to hold corners in place or smooth out edges. Repeat for as many pages as you would like to prep. Set aside to dry. (Figure 1)
TIP: If you are working in a bound journal, place a piece of wax paper between the pages when using wet media.
2. Add some extra texture to the collage with washi tape, doilies, and punched shapes, (Figure 2) adhering them with gel medium or a tape runner.
NOTE: I often add stamping and stenciling for even more texture and depth.
3. Apply a whitewash over your collage with a very light coat of gesso, making sure that some areas of the collage are peeking through. I add another, heavier layer of gesso in areas I plan to doodle over. Set aside and let dry.
4. Add some color. Choose a few colors and make blobs, blotches, and washes over the gesso with thinned acrylic paint or watercolors. (Figure 3) I keep the paint very thin, and build up layers and washes of color slowly. Allow the paint to dry in-between layers to prevent muddying the colors. Step out of your comfort zone and pick some colors that you don’t normally use. Allow to dry.
5. Start doodling. This is where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. If you prefer traditional Zentangle®, use those familiar techniques. You’ll find they will look strikingly different with the addition of the collaged background. If you’re more of a free-form doodler, this is your chance to go wild. Think about what you’ll use the page for—journaling, an art page, photos? I build and connect the shapes (Figure 4), sometimes filling the page (Figure 5), sometimes just keeping to a corner or creating a frame. Once you’ve decided on your page layout, go back with a fine-tip pen and start doodling.
NOTE: My doodling is organic and very much in the moment. I usually start from a corner and let the drawing climb and spread until I feel satisfied that it’s complete. I have no rhyme or reason to starting or stopping. The art of putting pen to paper is therapy, and I am content to draw until I have worked through my current mood/issue/contemplation. Oftentimes, I let the underlying collage edges and images determine the shape and flow of the doodles. What’s nice about doodling is that there is no wrong way to do it.
TIP: If you have raised edges in your collage, they may interfere with your doodling. Reduce the edges by adding thin layers of paper, or work the edges into your doodled design. I like to use them as guides for straight lines or as journaling boxes.
6. Fill the entire page with doodles, leave white spaces, or incorporate lines for journaling. (Figure 6) I blocked in the general shape of my design using a medium-tip pen. I then added leaves, dots, and petals.
NOTE: I’m partial to swirl-type shapes, and I tend to lean more toward very rounded shapes versus straight lines. Most of my art has many scalloped and circular shapes. I also like to doodle florals, and anything leaf-like or feathered.
7. Optional: Once you’re finished doodling, add more color to your design with paint, watercolor pencils, colored pens, or crayons. (Figure 7)
NOTE: If you are using water-based media in this step, be sure to test the colorfastness of your chosen pen(s) before proceeding. You don’t want your doodled lines to bleed.
The true beauty of this process is that the steps are interchangeable and repeatable. Many times I’ve doodled and doodled, added more color, and then decided it needed more collage in the foreground. It’s never too late to add another layer of paint or a few more pieces of paper.
Jenn Olson is a crafter who has more ideas and projects than time. When not spending time with her family, you’ll find her doodling in her art journal or knitting.
Hand lettering is an adventure with any writing tools: Finding which ones work best, learning how to use them, and finding the ones you like working with is just the beginning. But once you have that down, it’s time to spread your wings, and what better way than to make your own hand-lettering tools.
In the Cloth Paper ScissorsLettering Lesson, Volume 20 with Laura Lavender, Laura demonstrates how to use everyday objects like feathers, bamboo, and popsicle sticks to make new writing tools. I made a couple of the tools from this lesson, and I was amazed at the results.
The first tool was made using a wooden dowel and a piece of lightweight metal. I cut a 2″ x ½” piece from a soda can for the metal part. The second tool was made using a popsicle stick and a shaped piece from a recycled plastic cover (the template is included in the lesson). A staple and some washi tape, and this tool was ready to go.
I created quite a few letters of the alphabet with the first tool and Speedball® Super Black India Ink. I really like the crisp lines I was able to achieve. I went back in after forming all of the letters, and added serifs, using ink on the flat edge, almost stamping the lines.
I decided to try my hand at a few words: Grow and Smile. I love the way they turned out.
I used acrylic paint with the second tool, watering it a bit to the consistency of cream, as Laura suggested. It took a few tries to get just the right amount of paint on the tool, but I don’t mind the mix of heavy and light areas of paint. I think it adds interest. I created a lowercase alphabet this time.
I played around with this tool, too, and, after spying a couple of clothespins close by, I tried some lettering with them, too.
I decided to create a finished piece, and chose to use the popsicle-stick tool and the same paint. Once the hand lettering dried, I went back in and added the flowers and swirls. I discovered that the end of this tool created great flower petals when used like a stamp, and I used the metal-tipped tool to create the leaves and swirls. I added the flower centers and the random dots and details with a skewer (a tool I think requires further investigation!).
I enjoyed playing with these tools and definitely plan to include them in future hand-lettering exploits. Check out this lesson for more great ideas for making your own hand-lettering tools.
The things artists create from items most people throw away never cease to amaze me. The Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors is all about transforming items and giving them a new life, and we have some incredible artwork and techniques I’m sure you’ll want to try. But I also thought it would be fun to look back at some past articles and marvel at the creativity. So, I bring you my top recycled art projects (for now) that are sure to amaze and inspire!
1. Bathroom tissue probably isn’t on most people’s list of most-used art supplies. But Donna-Marie Cecere saw it as the perfect substrate for mixed-media art, combined with spray inks, rubber stamps, threads, beads, and more.
In the article “Tantalizing Tissue: Emboss and Embellish,” in the July/August 2014 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, Donna-Marie shows how the tissue, when layered with watered-down gel medium, can be pressed into a rubber stamp to create a beautiful embossed design. From there, adding color, beads, and stitching results in a standout piece that completely transcends its origins.
2. Most of us have repurposed book pages for any number of mixed-media projects. But Kathy Baker-Addy took recycled books to another level in her article “Books Unfurled” in the 2014 issue of Paper Art. She altered an entire book, covers and all, transforming it into a 3-D sculpture, cutting pages so they spill out in a waterfall of text. The effect is amazing.
Her recycled art projects look complicated, but are completely doable; she cuts sections of the book at a time, offering tips for making the sculpture symmetrical, and for finishing the book so it can be hung on a wall. Save some volumes from the landfill and give this one a try.
3. Laundry—yes, laundry—inspired Rae Missigman’s Art Lesson Volume 5: Recycled and Re-inked: Bold, Colorful Embellishments. In the lesson she shows how to turn Shout® Brand Color Catcher® sheets into gorgeous embellishments. The sheets are cellulose based and, it turns out, perfect for mixed-media art. Rae discovered that after the sheets have gone through a wash cycle, they’re pliable, super strong, and still ready to soak up lots of color.
Acrylic inks are used to give the sheets tons of vibrance, and then the sheets are cut and machine sewn and used as embellishments for canvas bags. After reading this lesson I ran to the store, got some Color Catcher sheets, and started incorporating them into my artwork. My laundry—and my art—have never been the same since.
4. As a flea market connoisseur, I’m often drawn to vintage tins, with their eye-catching graphics and typography. But beyond using the tins to store items, I’m never sure what to do with them. Liesel Lund solved that dilemma with her article “From Tin to Tin-Tastic: Creating Jewelry Components with Tin,” in the March/April 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. She details the process of cutting and repurposing tins, taking all the guesswork out, so they’re easy to work with.
Then, it’s onto creating one-of-a-kind jewelry. Liesel offers great ideas for using the tins and the images, and shows step-by-step how to take those finished pieces and add beads, fibers, and more to create layered, dimensional pieces. I especially love her winged bird, with components held together with eyelets. So many possibilities with this one—your imagination is sure to get sparked.
5. Karla Leopold took an interesting approach to choosing recycled textiles for her fabric collage portrait, featured in the article “Princess” in the July/August 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. “By using fabric and clothing scraps,” she writes, “I started with materials that have a history and add an element of storytelling.” What an amazing way to approach recycled art projects.
Her strategy paid off big time. Using a vintage fabric napkin as a substrate, Karla layered her textiles: scraps of lace, a blouse collar, a tea towel, and more. All with incredible tales to tell. After creating a composition, the pieces are adhered with a liquid adhesive, allowed to dry, then painted. Then, the magic: looking for an image to appear, to tease out of the collage. She saw a figure, then developed that into a beautiful portrait. What will you find?
Here’s a fun fact: I have a handbag filled with junk: a rusty washer found in a parking lot, various store and restaurant flyers, a couple of rocks and a twig from a walk, ticket stubs, clothing tags, and napkins (clean). While these may seem like a hoarder’s collection, trust me, they’re not. They are inspirations for my recycled art.
I love working with recycled and repurposed materials more than almost anything else, and I’ve done it since I started making art. Nothing thrills me more than taking an item and doing a 180 on it, transforming it into something beyond its original purpose. Most people see a cereal box, but I see book covers. A map is a blooming rose, and a tattered quilt piece is the focal point of a stitched collage. Seeing the potential in castoffs is thrilling, and planning and executing the conversion is the ultimate creative satisfaction. That process gets my wheels turning like nothing else.
I know I’m not alone. Judging from the fantastic recycled art I’ve seen and the innovative recycling techniques that artists continue to develop, there are a lot of people stuffing odd bits in their pockets to use in their creations. Our everything-is-disposable world has no doubt motivated artists even more to rescue items from the trash, or visibly mend what’s tattered and torn. In doing so, they’re further pushing the limits of what art is, what can become art, and what can be used to make art.
The artists who are included in our Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors all bring something inventive to the discussion. Roseane Viegas related a compelling story: She didn’t have access to her usual supplies, and had a creative epiphany while drinking from a juice box: the metallized interior might be perfect for making monotypes. The result is beautiful, vivid monoprints that you can make on your kitchen table.
I’ve been following Jennifer Collier’s work for years, absolutely fascinated with how she transforms 2-D paper into 3-D masterpieces, like cameras, typewriters, sewing machines, and shoes. For her article “Found-Paper Dresses” she transformed found papers into lovely frocks, complete with details such as pleats, piping, and button loops (that’s her dress on the cover!). Instead of tossing leftover grout from a DIY home project, Sandra Duran Wilson made it a textural element in an abstract piece. Candy Rosenberg saved discarded books from a landfill by turning the spines into a spectacular modern Victorian corset. This piece involves tons of cool techniques, including papier-mâché, creating a rusty patina, and more.
In Paperology, you’ll find Kristen Robinson’s elegant shrine made out of cardboard that’s all about texture and details. Debbie Blair raided the toy box to create a bold, wearable necklace made with recycled checkers and other unexpected items.
The issue is filled with so much more great inspiration. We profile Dosshaus, a creative duo from Southern California who fashion whole worlds out of recycled cardboard and paint. Seth Apter kept a journal during his artist residency, and we have it! His insights will fascinate you. Katherine DuBose Fuerst’s incredible dimensional paper clay birds will make your jaw drop. Chris Cozen shows how to create a mixed-media painting inspired by the abstract work of Richard Diebenkorn, and we have lots of studio inspiration from Karen O’Brien in Studio Spotlight (so jealous of her workspace!).
Using this issue as inspiration, let’s start a recycled art challenge—use at least one recycled item per week in your artwork. Better yet, make an entire art piece from repurposed materials, along with your favorite go-to supplies. Excuse me while I rifle through my handbag.
Have you taken your art outdoors lately? Whether in a man-made or natural setting, halfway around the globe or in your own backyard, creating en plein air can result in wonderful artwork inspired by the world around you. Artist Jacqueline Newbold is often inspired by nature for her mixed-media watercolor creations. In this article from our July/August 2014 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, Jacqueline shares her easy, stress-free technique for drawing and painting colorful flora and fauna.
A Watercolor Naturalist’s Journal: The Colorful World of Flora and Fauna, by Jacqueline Newbold
Summer sunshine and blue skies bring out tiny creatures—ladybugs, dragonflies, frogs, and more. Flowers, birds, and animals are out in full force, too. Take a closer look at the wonderful world of flora and fauna surrounding you, and you may be surprised at their color-filled lives.
My interest in flora and fauna started in college when I was majoring in botany. Along with my plant studies, I took an entomology course (the study of insects) to help me get over my fear of little creepy, crawling bugs. What I discovered, with the help of a magnifying glass, was a fascinating world of insects cloaked in the most amazing array of colorful combinations. Bold stripes of black and gold, coats of gorgeous metallic turquoise and copper, delightful polka dots, and shimmering translucent fairy-like wings were just a few of the wonderful hues and patterns I found. Discovering this amazing tiny world of color did get me over my fear of insects, and it continues to give me inspiration and great subject matter for my watercolor journals.
When I first began adding flora and fauna to my journals, I was intimidated by the drawing process and trying to accurately depict these things. Over time I came up with an easy, stress-free technique. I convert flora and fauna into a series of connected ovals, circles, ellipses, and rectangular shapes, and then fine-tune the shapes as needed. It is much more manageable to think of them in this way. Now I enjoy drawing, painting, and adding my field observations of these delightful creatures to my journals.
I encourage you to step outside, slow down, and begin to notice details about this beautiful world we live in. Pay attention to colors, shapes, and textures, and record your findings in your field journal. Using this drawing technique of simplifying shapes, you can easily draw the world of flora and fauna surrounding you. Don’t be intimidated. Enjoy the process. Whether observing wildlife from your backyard or a tropical jungle, starting a watercolor naturalist’s field journal is a fun summer project!
Watercolor paint (I used French Vermilion by Sennelier.)
Twinkling H2Os™ by ColourArte (I used Ginger Peach, Key Lime, and Pretty Peridot.)
Pens (I used a black Sakura Glaze® 3-D Glossy Ink pen and a white gel pen.)
Draw and paint a frog
NOTE: I chose to draw a frog, but this technique will work with other animals, insects, and flowers as well.
1. Draw a frog in your watercolor journal with a pencil, simplifying its body parts using ovals and circles. (FIGURE 1)
2. Erase the lines that overlap or don’t make sense. Tweak and connect the lines as necessary to complete the shape. (FIGURE 1) Paint the whole frog with red watercolor, except for the eyes. Let dry. (FIGURE 2)
3. Paint the frog’s body and front legs with a coat of Ginger Peach Twinkling H2Os. Let dry. (FIGURE 3)
NOTE: Twinkling H2Os are a great way to add iridescent metallic colors. Make sure to mist the paints with water 10–15 minutes before you use them.
4. Paint the eyes using a combination of the 2 green Twinkling H2Os, keeping the lighter green at the top of the eye. Let dry. (FIGURE 4)
5. Use the black pen to draw in the spots and the eyes. Create a glint of light in the eye with the white gel pen. Outline the frog. (FIGURE 5)
6. Add your field notes to the page. (FIGURE 5)
Try this technique for larger animals
While camping on an island in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, I encountered ring-tailed cats. I had never heard of a ring-tailed cat until one of these adorable little nocturnal animals snuck into my tent one night and tore open my bag of chocolate-covered almonds. He chewed the chocolate off all the almonds leaving a mess of almond bits everywhere and, during his escape, chocolate footprints all over my neon-orange duffle bag. In order for me to depict this cute rascal in my journal, I drew him using my technique of breaking him down into simple ovals and circles for his head, ears, body, and tail. Since a ring-tailed cat has slightly pointed ears, all I had to do was tweak the ear ovals to make them more pointed.
• The subject of flora and fauna is vast, so you may want to concentrate on just one type, such as birds or wildflowers. Figure out what interests you the most and start there.
• Wildlife can be difficult to photograph, so consider using field guidebooks as a resource for your drawings.
• Part of the charm of a naturalist’s journal is adding handwritten field notes to the page. Document your observations of your surrounding world.
Jacqueline Newbold shares her passion for watercolor painting by teaching in her Bend, Oregon private studio. She also conducts watercolor workshops in France and Italy. Her paintings and mixed-media art journals have been featured in magazines such as Cloth Paper Scissors, Studios, Somerset Studio’s Art Journaling, as well as The Cloth Paper Scissors Book: Techniques and Inspiration for Creating Mixed-Media Art from Interweave, and Splash 17: Inspiring Subjects from North Light Books. Visit her website at newboldart.com.