Inktober: A Community Gallery

October is also Inktober, a month-long event where artists challenge themselves to create an ink drawing a day for 31 days and share their work using the hashtag #Inktober. We asked members of our Cloth Paper Scissors community to show us what they were working on, and we received some amazing artwork!

First up is Sara Branson, who says she usually sketches during her lunch hour (what a great use of the time!). Sara says, “I like to keep my supplies minimal and portable. I’ve been using a Kuretake Zig Memory System Writer with permanent pigment ink and a small metal watercolor palette with a water brush.”

inktober
Art by Sara Branson

There’s so much about Sara’s art that we love—the expressiveness, the details created with the pen, the use of color and shading, and the shaped pages in her sketchbook. “I’ve been a spectator every year during Inktober,” she says. This year she was in a craft store when a small Stillman & Birn sketchbook caught her eye. “I bought it and decided that I was participating in Inktober this year with this sketchbook. It was small enough that I could just make small sketches without being overwhelmed. I also like the challenge of using the official prompt list. It helps stretch my imagination when seeing all the different sketches everyone makes for the same word. I am really enjoying it.”

inktober
Art by Sara Branson

Kimberly Kane chose Futakuchi-onna as her subject matter. She explains that this yokai, or supernatural being from Japanese folklore, “is a woman who does not eat much and then grows a ravenous mouth on the back of her head. Her hair becomes tentacle-like and can grab food for the second mouth.”

inktober
Art by Kimberly Kane

The compelling artwork demands a second look—and then a third and fourth. She created it by starting with a light pencil sketch. That was erased, and a brush and India ink were used to create the figure. Kim used a Sakura Pigma Micron pen for the dress pattern, and created the artwork in a Global Art Materials watercolor journal. We love the use of two kinds of ink—perfect for Inktober.

Inktober is what motivated Kimberly to return to her love of art. “I drew a lot when I was young (I was an art student at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City), but art gradually fell by the wayside over the years. I wanted to get back into it, so when a friend and fellow high school classmate posted on Facebook about Inktober, it sounded like a fun way to jump back in.”

We were stunned to find out that Dawn Vollaro used humble ballpoint pens to create these vivid drawings. Or, as she put it, “dollar store cheapo ballpoint pens.” Drawn from life, the sketches have incredible energy and drama.

inktober
Art by Dawn Vollaro

Dawn’s inspiration was the Summer 2017 issue of Drawing magazine, the Ball Point Issue. “I doodled with those pens while taking notes in school, but I never considered creating fine art with them,” she says. “This issue was an absolute revelation. So, when I heard about Inktober through various online groups as well as the art supply subscription service ArtSnacks, I was inspired to give ballpoint pens a go! I am loving it!”

inktober
Art by Dawn Vollaro

Agnes Tirrito created this beautiful cardinal in a watercolor paper journal she made by hand specifically for her Inktober artwork. “I’m filling this journal with some prompts,” she said, “but mostly with images or words that resonate me with me now.” This cardinal, created with red ink and dip pen, definitely resonates with us.

A fellow artist got Agnes involved with Inktober: “Tammy Garcia hosts the art site Daisy Yellow, and I have taken part in her Index-Card-a-Day challenge for the past five years.” Agnes adds, “A daily immersion in art brings joy! Allowing myself a few minutes of art play each day refocuses me and brings new ideas to the forefront of my mind. I am teaching a workshop on art journaling this month for my hometown’s regional art center, so this daily dip into ink also helped me prepare for that event.”

Art by Agnes Tirrito
Art by Agnes Tirrito

We hope that these Inktober pieces inspired you! If you haven’t started the Inktober challenge, it’s not too late to start. There are no midterms, no check-ins—just you and your creativity. See what a daily challenge can do for your art practice. If you need even more inspiration, we’ve got some items that may do the trick.

We’re also doing some fantastic Inktober giveaways on the Cloth Paper Scissors Facebook page! Head over on Thursday, October 19th for all the details!

Inktober was created by Jake Parker. “Inktober” and its logo are trademarks of JP Creative LLC, and are used with permission. For more information, go to inktober.com.

Create watercolor postcards with background textures and Zen doodle patterns in the video In Zen Doodle Postcards: Mixed-Media Texture Techniques with Sandrine Pelissier.
Stop worrying about perfection and discover how much fun you can have creating unique lettering with a dip pen in Lettering Lessons Volume 8: Using a Dip Pen in Non-Traditional Ways by Pam Garrison.
Learn to sketch on the spot using a variety of mediums and techniques in Artist’s Sketchbook: Exercises and Techniques for Sketching on the Spot by Cathy Johnson.

Create a Hand-Lettered Sign for Fall

In the Cloth Paper Scissors October Lettering Lesson Jen Wagner, author of Happy Hand Lettering, shares how she created a hand-lettered sign for fall, using a chalk pen. I love playing with hand lettering, so I couldn’t let this opportunity to try something new pass me by. Bonus: Jen provides a 12-page Lettering Guide in this Lettering Lesson for practice and fun.

I chose three different substrates to play with: a small board, a garden stake, and some cardstock. I wanted to include one of Dina Wakley’s bird stamps on the small board, and decided to add some hearts on the card, so I placed the clean stamp on the board for spacing and I sketched in the hearts before adding my text in pencil.

Hand lettering in pencil first let’s you make corrections as needed.

Referring to Jen’s lesson, I thickened the downstrokes on each letter. My lettering is boxier than Jen’s, but I used the same principles. I stamped the bird on the board, using black acrylic paint. And, rather than just fill in the hearts on the card with color, I decided to cut them out.

Thickening the downstrokes and some decorative details adds style to hand lettering.

Time for color. I worked on the garden stake first, using a white chalk pen and filling in the downstrokes. I added yellow to the flowers, and then enhanced the centers of the flowers with orange dots. Working with a chalk pen was fun and easy.

I decided to use paint markers for the hand lettering on the small board, and discovered they were not as predictable as the chalk pens. Some of my lines ended up wider than I’d hoped. I like the look of the complementary colors though. The heart was a last minute addition, but I think it finishes the board nicely.

On the card, I used pink and purple Stabilo pens, and then outlined the heart shapes with dots, using the same pens.

hand-lettered sign
Color makes this hand-lettered text pop.

I had a lot of fun creating these pieces, and decided I didn’t want to stop. I printed out Jen’s Lettering Guide and played with some of the letters. Using her letter designs as a base, I thickened some of the lines more than usual, added decorative lines to others, and played with some words. There are so many options!

Every Lettering Lesson adds something new to my lettering skills and to my lettering fun! Once you learn the basics, add your own spin to any hand lettering technique and create your own style.

Happy lettering!

Tutorial: Make a Paper-Cut Menu Tent

Planning a party or special gathering? Take your table decor up a notch with a paper-cut menu tent that’s both practical and fashionable. In the step-by-step tutorial below, artist Paige E. Martin shows you how to add extra dimension to a menu tent with easy paper cutouts and collaged papers. Whether you’re creating for a birthday party, backyard barbecue, Halloween party, tailgate, Thanksgiving dinner, wedding, or other upcoming occasion, this tutorial gives you all the know-how you need to create menu tents for any style and theme! This project first appeared in our Paper Art 2014 special magazine issue.

Paper-Cut Menu Tent
Paige E. Martin’s paper-cut menu tent

Paper-Cut Menu Tent by Paige E. Martin

Some of the most intriguing paper-cut designs are dimensional. My favorite method for adding dimension involves layering cut paper with mounting tape, instantly enhancing the design by adding shadows. Use this technique to create a custom motif that you can add to a welcome sign, menu display, thank-you notes, and more. This project is for a menu tent decorated with leaf shapes, featuring chalkboard paper that allows you to write notes with ease.

Materials:

  • Paper, heavy-weight, 4 sheets including a 20″ x 9 1/2″ sheet (I glued together 2 pieces of cardstock from French Paper Company for my large sheet.)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler, metal edge
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Foam mounting tape (I used industrial-strength foam mounting tape from Uline®)
  • Chalkboard paper
  • Decorative papers
  • Tape, double-sided
  • Scrap paper
  • Optional:
    • Pen

Directions:

1. Create a unique template. Simple designs will make the cutting process easier. I created leaves in various sizes. (FIGURE 1)

FIGURE 1

2. Mark the halfway point on the back side of the large piece of cardstock to determine the front and back panels. Fold the cardstock in half.

3. On the back side of one panel, measure and mark the chalkboard area to your desired size.

4. Measure and mark a border of at least 1/4″ on the outside of the chalkboard area and on the edges of the front panel.

5. Trace your design templates in the space between the borders. Be aware that designs that are too close together can reduce the strength of the paper once cut, making the project more difficult to assemble. (FIGURE 2)

FIGURE 2

6. Note the areas where the designs cross into the 1/4″ borders. Erase any designs that are within the marked borders, or outline the areas of the designs that will be cut using a pen that will not bleed through the paper.

7. Using the craft knife, carefully cut out the designs, making sure not to cut beyond the borders. Cut slowly and turn the paper as you work, periodically removing the loose cut shapes. If a cut shape cannot be easily removed, recut the outline. Periodically flip the menu over and look at your cuts. Once finished, clean up any paper tufts.

8. Cut out the chalkboard area, cutting against the ruler if needed. (FIGURE 3)

NOTE: When creating paper cuts it is best to cut small shapes first as it reduces the likelihood of the paper tearing or creasing as you work.

FIGURE 3

9. Add foam mounting tape to the back of the front panel around your designs and on the 1/4″ borders. As you add the mounting tape, flip your work over and note areas where the paper is weak and needs support. Use a craft knife to cut the foam tape into smaller strips or thin pieces to fit in these areas. (FIGURE 4)

FIGURE 4

10. Cut the chalkboard paper slightly larger than the opening. Remove the backing from the mounting tape and adhere the chalkboard paper, making sure it’s taut.

11. Audition and then adhere the decorative papers underneath the cut shapes. (FIGURE 5) I created decorative papers by gluing patterned tissue to scraps of paper and painting book pages.

FIGURE 5

12. Cut 2 pieces of cardstock to the dimensions of the front and back panels, cutting the height 1/4″ – 1/2″ shorter. Apply double-sided tape to the back of the front and back panels. Adhere the cardstock to the panels to reinforce the menu, aligning the cardstock with the outer edges.

13. Stand the menu tent on a table and decide how tall it should be. Turn the menu tent to its side and measure the base of the triangle. Add 4″ to that measurement and cut a piece of cardstock to size to create the stand. Cut the width of the stand roughly 3″ smaller than your panel width. My stand was 12″ x 6 1/2″.

14. Measure and mark 2″ down on either end of the stand and fold at these marks.

15. On a scrap of paper as wide as the panel and a third of the height, cut a semi-circle in the middle using the craft knife. This will be the slot for the stand to rest in.

16. Using double-sided tape, adhere a folded end of the stand to the back side of the front panel.

17. Place double-sided tape around the outer edges of the paper with the semi-circle and adhere it to the other panel with the slot pointing out. (FIGURE 6)

FIGURE 6

18. Write your menu, slip the loose end of the stand into the semi-circle slot, and enjoy your gathering! Consider saving any intact shapes to use as table decorations. (FIGURE 7)

FIGURE 7

A paper-cut tent also makes a great addition to art booths! Check out our editorial director Jeannine Stein’s latest Studio Saturday blog for tips for selling at art and craft fairs, including how to prepare, booth design, selling techniques, and more.


Formerly the Assistant Editor of Special Projects for Cloth Paper Scissors and Content Producer of The Mixed-Media Workshop, Paige E. Martin is an avid bookmaking and paper-cut artist. Check out her Cloth Paper Scissors Workshop on bookbinding, and visit her website for more about her artwork: paigespaper.com.


Want more paper art projects? Don’t miss this special magazine issue!

Paper Art 2014

Digital Magazine Collections and Zombies

To go digital or not to go digital—that’s the question readers of Cloth Paper Scissors at some point ask themselves. I know that most of you hang onto the print edition of the magazine, and I’m the same way. Even before I became part of the Cloth Paper Scissors family, I kept every single back issue, easily accessing them when I needed some inspiration. But there are good reasons why you should have both print and digital magazine collections of Cloth Paper Scissors and special issues. And the first has to do with zombies.

In the event of a zombie attack—or worse, a zombie apocalypse—are you going to be able to grab those back issues and make a run for it? Probably not. A stack of CDs is much lighter. And if you have downloads, just grab your laptop, tablet, or phone and scoot like the dickens so you can outrun those pesky undead. Easy peasy!

All six issues of Cloth Paper Scissors from 2016 are included in this collection. Do you know where all six of your copies are right now? Mmm-hmm.

Here are a few more reasons why you should consider adding digital collections to your mixed-media library:

1. You can access copies on the go. Whether you’re sipping a café au lait on the Champs Elysee or chugging a Pumpkin Spice Latte at the neighborhood Starbucks in your yoga pants, it’s nice to relax with a magazine. With digital magazine collections you can scroll through issue after issue, choosing the projects you want to try. As you read over the materials list you can order supplies online right then and there. Does life get any better than that? Maybe, if you had a chocolate croissant. And a couple of cake pops. And possibly a blueberry muffin. But I don’t speak from experience.

Crystal Neubauer shares the secrets of successful collage in the May/June 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, included in the 2016 Collection. (Art and photo by Crystal Neubauer.)

2. Never worry about spillage. You’re trying an art journal technique from Pages magazine and you’re wrist-deep in collage ephemera, fluid and heavy-body acrylic paint, matte medium, watercolor, spray inks, acrylic inks, crackle medium, and glitter. Suddenly, you knock over the paintbrush jar filled with water, which lands on your open copy of Pages. Do you weep? Yes. Great, heaving sobs. Now imagine that you’re looking at that article on your tablet, which is safely propped up on a cute tablet stand. The paint water never touches it. You laugh and grab a paper towel. Because life is full of funny adventures.

Digital magazine collections make sense, especially if you’re missing some key special issues. Pages and pages of great book and art journaling projects can be found in the Pages Volume 1-4 Collection.

3. Neither a borrower nor a lender be, because that never ends well. It’s your get-together night with your art friends, and you’ve brought along your copy of Zen Doodle Workshop because you’re leading the group in a fun project from the issue. But when Carol lays her eyes on that magazine, you know she’s going to ask to borrow it. And as much as you like Carol, she’s going to have to pry it out of your cold, dead hands. If you had digital magazine collections on your laptop, she wouldn’t ask to borrow that issue, there would be no awkward excuses, and you and Carol would still be friends. Most likely.

Did you miss this great project from “Doodled Graffiti Journal” by Ingrid Dijkers in the Spring 2016 issue of Zen Doodle Workshop? What are you waiting for? Get the entire four-issue Zen Doodle Workshop Collection! (Art by Ingrid Dijkers, photo by Sharon White Photography)

4. Digital magazine collections are pet proof. I love my cats very much, but they have these things called “claws” and “fangs.” Not sure if you’ve heard of them, but they’re super sharp and plentiful. Said pointy accessories tend to be utilized when said cats want attention, which is pretty much whenever you’re busy. “Oh, are you reading that magazine? That looks interesting, may I just have a loo”—SCRAAAAAAATCH!!! SHHHHHREDDDDDD!!! RIIIIIIIIP!!! Bye-bye, Paper Art, it was so nice knowing you. Now, had you been looking at that magazine on your laptop or mobile device, you and Mr. Kitty could have snuggled up together, and you could have explained how to make molded paper using hand-carved linoleum blocks, furthering his artistic education.

Calling all paper lovers! Satisfy your love of paper with this Paper Lovers Collection that includes two issues of Pages, plus I {Heart} Paper and Paper Art.

Convinced? I thought so. Our CD and downloadable digital magazine collections are incredibly practical, and they’re just a click away. Collections are easy to navigate and you can print any article that interests you. Get those special issues you’ve been missing. Oh, and tell your friends about these collections, too, so they’re prepared for the zombie apocalypse. They’ll appreciate the heads up.

Studio Saturday: Encaustic Art and the Best Day Ever

My first impression of encaustic art was that it was incredibly beautiful, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to start working with wax. Was it really that amazing? The short answer is an emphatic yes, as my colleague and I discovered on a recent field trip to the studio of artist Nancy Tobey, who showed us the light, and a lot of lovely melted wax, providing the Best Day Ever making encaustic art.

Recently, Cloth Paper Scissors managing editor Barbara Delaney and I set out for Western Avenue Studios and Lofts, a complex of work and live/work artist studios in Lowell, Massachusetts. We had asked Nancy if she would take us through her encaustic process, and we were instantly fascinated and impressed with her techniques. Both Barb and I came away with a deeper appreciation and love of encaustic. Annnnnd we got hooked. There’s no going back now.

Nancy’s studio showcases her incredible encaustic and mixed-media art, which is vibrant and energetic and engaging.

Nancy Tobey art studio
The walls of Nancy Tobey’s studio are a backdrop for her gorgeous mixed-media and encaustic artwork.
Western Avenue Lofts
Spending the day at Western Avenue Studios and Lofts with Nancy Tobey was such a treat!

Nancy began by warming the substrate (a flat Ampersand® Encausticbord) and brushed on a few coats of encaustic medium, alternating brushstroke directions each time and fusing the layers with a torch. Fusing heats the encaustic paint and medium, allowing them to bond with the layer underneath. Without this step, the layers can chip off or delaminate altogether, and you really, really don’t want that to happen.

Fusing encaustic art piece
Using a torch, Nancy fuses layers of encaustic medium to make her encaustic art piece

Nancy then showed two techniques for creating image transfers. For one, she cut out an inkjet print of one of her black-and-white drawings and burnished it face-down onto the encaustic wax layer. She then wet the paper and rubbed it off, leaving only the image—I’m sure you’ve done image transfers this way for mixed-media art, but I had no idea the same method could done with encaustic!

For another technique, she drew onto deli paper with pencil, burnished that face down directly onto the wax, and removed the deli paper. Each transfer technique offered a different look, adding a lot to the piece.

Transfer methods for encaustic art
Two different transfer methods yield two completely different looks.

Nancy said she’s been working with encaustic art for about eight or nine years; she’s also a glass artist, and says the crossover was helped by the fact that “I love working with fire.” She handles a torch like a champion, preferring it to a heat gun to fuse her encaustic layers because she likes the control the torch offers, allowing her to target details on her piece.

Encaustic art is perfect for artists who like to work intuitively, like Nancy. As the piece progresses you can add color with encaustic paint and pigment sticks, do some mark making, add paper and fabric, create texture, make the surface bumpy or smooth, and more. She says she likes creating a history in a piece by building up layers, and it’s extraordinary to look at a piece and see through to what you created an hour ago—the dimension just blows you away.

Nancy continued to work on her piece, creating marks and then covering the entire piece with black pigment stick. Although this layer looked somewhat frightening, there was nothing to worry about.

Rubbing a pigment stick onto encaustic art
Pigment sticks go on like buttah and add dimension and color to encaustic art.

When you rub the pigment off, it remains only where you’ve scraped or dug into the wax, revealing the patterns. Nancy used a stylus and pastry crimping wheel to make marks, but she has a whole arsenal of tools she loves to use. Fusing this layer not only bonds it to the one below, but when the encaustic medium melts, it also encapsulates the marks, so the pigment doesn’t smudge when the next layer is applied.

Layering and mark-making with encaustic art
With the pigment stick removed, the marks are clearly visible, as are the layers underneath.

Encaustic paint and a pigment stick were added, as well as splatters of vivid yellow, hot pink, and white encaustic paint. The torch was used to move some of the splatters: “I use my torch like a paintbrush,” she said. “I like that I can move the lines around.”

A straight razor was used to scrape off fine shavings of encaustic paint. This smoothed the surface and also revealed other colors underneath—it’s all about those layers.

Scraping technique for encaustic art
After adding splatters of encaustic paint to her piece, Nancy used a razor to remove fine shavings of the color.

One of the last techniques she incorporated was rubbing in a little PanPastel with her fingers, which framed the piece nicely. Then came the ultimate finishing touch: flakes of gold leaf. When she pulled out that jar, brushed the leaf over her piece and burnished it, it was truly magical. Here is Nancy’s gorgeous piece:

Encaustic art by Nancy Tobey
Encaustic art by Nancy Tobey

After that wonderful demo, Nancy walked us through doing a piece, incorporating many of the techniques she had just shown us.

Splattering paint on encaustic art
Barb splatters encaustic paint on her piece.

We got a feel for how to brush on encaustic wax, make marks, paint, add collage, and layer on pigment stick.

Brushing on encaustic medium
Here’s me, awkwardly brushing on encaustic medium.

We also added gold leaf. How could you not? With Nancy’s expert guidance nothing was intimidating—even using the torch was easy after watching her. She also showed us how to give the piece a bit of shine when it had cooled down by rubbing it with our hands.

Here are the pieces Barb and I did (Barb’s is on the right, mine’s on the left):

Encaustic art incorporating collage
Look what we did!

It didn’t take long before the light bulb went on and I understood the powerful allure of creating encaustic art. To see the beauty of the layers and techniques unfold as you work is amazing, and your brain works overtime thinking of even more techniques to try. We are so grateful to Nancy for being our guide and teacher through this fantastic day.

If you’ve never done encaustic art, I highly recommend you give it a go. It’s creatively satisfying in a different way from other types of mixed-media art, and I have a feeling you’ll fall for it as much as we did. Start with the September/October issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, which is our encaustic art issue. Among the articles you’ll find an encaustic art primer, which gives a great run-down of basic techniques and equipment, plus fantastic projects that feature a slew of exciting techniques.

We have lots more where that came from—books and videos that offer lots of tips and techniques for encaustic art. Take the plunge, you won’t regret it!

To see more of Nancy Tobey’s beautiful artwork, go to nancytobey.com.

September/October 2017 Cloth Paper Scissors magazine
Don’t miss the September/October 2017 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, which has several encaustic art projects and tons of information on the process.
Storytelling Art Collection
You’ll love Cathy Nichols’ approach to encaustic, collage, and storytelling, and her Storytelling Art Collection is a great place to start!
Encaustic Revelation by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch
Discover great encaustic art techniques from top artists in the eBook Encaustic Revelation by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch.
Expressive Collage Workshop: Encaustic with Imagery by Crystal Neubauer
Learn how to add images to encaustic art with the video Expressive Collage Workshop: Encaustic with Imagery by Crystal Neubauer.

New Seth Apter Kit in the House!

Have you ever admired another artist’s work and felt so lucky when they shared their techniques? That’s how I feel every time Seth Apter releases a video—it’s like he’s letting us into his secret technique vault. Good news: We have a brand new exclusive Mixed Media Techniques with Seth Apter kit that includes two new Seth Apter Creative Workshop videos: 10 Techniques for Mixed-Media Artists, and 10 Techniques for Painting Layers in Mixed Media, a set of stamps designed by Seth, and an exclusive grouping of chalk-finish paints.

You’re going to be so happy when you discover how Seth gets those amazing layered effects in his work by using paint and other media to create the look of patina, rust, and weathered walls—and the techniques are really fun. His methods are more organic than they are structured, allowing you to explore creative possibilities and put your own spin on things. The kit includes the two new videos, plus a set of PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic paint in five colors selected by Seth: Mud Splat, Mahogany, Terracotta, Smoked Paprika, plus Green Patina (not pictured here). You’ll also get a set of PaperArtsy stamps designed by Seth, which can be used in so many ways.

seth apter
Shake up your mixed-media routine with great new techniques and materials in the Mixed Media Techniques with Seth Apter kit.
These sets of paints and stamps are included with the Mixed Media Techniques with Seth Apter kit—very cool, no?

After watching 10 Techniques for Painting Layers in Mixed Media I was dying to try what I had just learned, and decided to start with a fun monoprinting technique using just paint and paper. When trying something new I like to work on more than one piece at a time, and this seemed like a good opportunity. I dry brushed a coat of Mud Splat onto one piece of canvas-textured paper, and Terracotta onto another. You’ll quickly fall in love with these paints the minute you start using them. Not only are the colors rich and saturated, but they dry to a beautiful matte finish.

Using canvas-textured paper results in fantastic dimension in your artwork. And how about those paint colors?

As recommended in the video, you don’t need to cover the entire sheet with the first layer of paint—leaving some white space is good. For the monoprinting technique I brushed a contrasting color onto a scrap of the canvas paper and quickly pressed it onto the painted paper—I used Smoked Paprika over Mud Splat, and Mahogany over Terracotta.

Monoprinting using Seth Apter’s methods is so easy, and provides such amazing results.

The effect was incredibly cool—the paint from the scrap paper left a trace of sketchy color, and already I could see the dimensional effect of the layering.

Making straight or circular brushstrokes will give you varied results when monoprinting, so mix it up!

I kept going, adding more layers to each, until I was happy with the look. The papers came out so radically different, too—you’ll never get the same patterns twice, which is amazing. This monoprinting technique is such a fantastic idea to use with leftover paint, which I always feel so bad about wasting. No more—now that excess paint has a purpose!

Layering different colors of paints with monoprinting offers unique results.

Also, don’t toss the sheets you used to monoprint—those can definitely be used for other projects. I even did some monoprinting on these, too, and I’m sure they’ll be incorporated in art journal pages, collages, tags, and more.

Don’t you dare throw your scraps away!

For the Terracotta sheet, I stamped one of the images from the Seth Apter stamp set twice with Mud Splat, applying the paint directly on the stamp with a cosmetic sponge (Don’t forget to clean the stamp immediately after using paint!). The medallion stamp was inked up with gray stamping ink, stamped on vintage ledger paper twice, and cut out. The detail in the stamp is amazing—it looks dimensional. I stamped the same image with dark red ink onto the canvas paper, tying the composition together. I also punched a few circles in one corner with a hole punch for an accent. Here’s a detail; you’ll notice the different looks the stamps offer with both paint and ink, which is a huge bonus.

The Seth Apter-designed stamps are extremely versatile and can be incorporated into all of your mixed-media artwork.

The cut-out medallion images were glued to the back of a vintage photo. A portion of the large stamp in the Seth Apter set was stamped on a piece of torn painted scrap paper and also adhered to the photo. This entire piece was glued to the monoprinted paper.

seth apter
This new addition to my art journal is the first of many using Seth’s techniques!

I love how this piece turned out, and I’m eager to discover more techniques in both Seth Apter Creative Workshop videos, and see what else those stamps and paints can do. If you’re like me and always on the hunt for great new mixed-media ideas, this Mixed Media Techniques with Seth Apter kit is a done deal. Pssst: With the holidays coming up, the kit makes a great gift, too. Happy creating!

11 Spooky Mixed-Media Halloween Ideas

Looking for fun mixed-media Halloween projects to create? You’ve come to the right place! When we asked readers to make fall holiday-themed works of mixed-media art for a “Skeletons in Your Closet” challenge to feature in our September/October 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, we didn’t know what to expect. Crispy leaves and plump pumpkins? Or dancing bones and grimacing jack-o’-lanterns? Art as sweet as Halloween candy or as spiritual as the Day of the Dead? We got all of that — and a few closets, too! Here are some of our favorite submissions to inspire your own Halloween projects this year.

“Skeletons in Your Closet” Lani Robertson • Kit Carson, CO
“My project started with a search for ‘Skeletons in Your Closet’ sayings on the Internet. After finding the perfect one, I constructed a little closet out of book board. I then selected coordinating paper and typed the text on my vintage typewriter. I found an image of a skeleton, printed it out, and glued a piece of book board to the back to give it some added dimension. Lastly, I added some sparkle to the piece with some German glass glitter, sealed the piece, put a piece of glass on the front, and soldered.”
2½” × 3″ soldered shadow box.

mixed-media halloween
Skeletons in Your Closet

“Bad to the Bone” Kristen Beason • Hudson, OH
“I’m always drawn to creating skeletons because it seems that people like bad-boy skeletons! This fella is full of vices and the dangling cigarette is probably a moot point. I think he’s running to find a pair of dice…snake eyes!”
Thin wood; paper clay, wire. 8″ long

Bad to the Bone

“Bride and Groom” Jeane Frizzell • Peoria, AZ
“Brides and grooms are my favorite Dia de los Muertos images, and I knew I needed to have a skeleton in a sombrero. I can’t get enough of making these plushies.”
Small plushies 9″; tall ones 13″.

Bride and Groom

“Halloween Spegg-tacular” Lynette Fisk • Pleasant Hill, MO
“I was working on a way to cover eggshells with clay for an Easter tree, and then started thinking about a seasonal tree that could change with eggs for various seasons. The pumpkin and spider eggs were the result. I have plans for more—black with translucent ghosts, bats, bones, etc. Then there are 4th of July eggs, turkey eggs for November, and on and on…”
2 1/4″ × 1 3/4″

Halloween Spegg-tacular

“Skeletons in Your Closet” Michele DeHate • Santa Rosa, CA
“This black felt teddy bear has sugar skulls, pirate skulls, birds, and flowers appliquéd to his front. On his belly is a door frame and door. The door opens to show a full skeleton printed on vellum. The front of the door has a pirate skull and a pink bird, as well as two hinges and a vintage keyhole.”
18″ tall

mixed-media halloween
Skeletons in Your Closet

“No Wire Hangers…EVER” Kristen Beason • Hudson, OH
“I wanted to do something fun to capture the spirit of the reader challenge. What is scarier than Joan Crawford yelling this phrase to a child? They are a couple of cheeky skeletons just hanging out in someone’s closet.”
Thin wood; metal brads, black cardstock, wire; papier-mâché. 8″ long

mixed-media halloween
No Wire Hangers…EVER

“Mr. Harrington’s Transition to the Spirit World was a Short One” Andrea Manard • Memphis, TN
“From the black wreath with the zombie bride and groom on our front door to the fake human heart packed by the ‘cannibal meat market’ my son hides in the freezer, the Halloween decorations in our house definitely lean toward the creepy rather than the cute. Creepiest of all, at least to me, is the concept of the ghost. Ghosts are never content. They are always hanging around because of some unresolved issue, scaring the living in the process. I tried capturing that creepiness in these pieces. The first shows a very distinct man, happily living his life. In the second, he is meeting his unfortunate end, his essence a mere shadow, leaving his earthly bones visible. In the last, he is a specter of his former self, ready to start working out those unresolved issues and to terrify the rest of us.”
Three 4″ × 5″ canvas boards

mixed-media halloween
Mr. Harrington’s Transition to the Spirit World was a Short One

“Edgar’s Storage Closet is Full” Cathy Rylander • Bryan, TX
“Piled in the hallway are reminders of some of Poe’s stories and poems. The cat, the portraits, and the seashell are altered found objects; I made everything else. I was inspired by three things: my affection for Poe’s writings, the found board from a fence, and the postage stamp of Poe.”
8″ × 10″ × 3″ diorama

mixed-media halloween
Edgar’s Storage Closet is Full

“Spooky Elegance” Theresa Hackworth • Redding, CT
“My table art stems from an interest in mid-century modern tablescapes and my collection of vintage dishes. Recently, I’ve discovered the wonderful world of British contemporary floral art. So, I’m often thinking about the juxtaposition of these old and new design ideas. This tablescape was made with vintage jewelry findings, artificial branches, old celluloid roses with leaves, upholstery trim, and a sparkly frog. It is held together with wire, pins, and glue. The napkin rings are vintage belt buckles covered with vintage plastic flower findings, rhinestones, old pearls, and a black owl. The owls and the cream-and-black color scheme unify these one-of-a-kind pieces. The buckle art can be unpinned like a brooch and double as memorable party favors, allowing the wool rings to be used for next year’s dinner.”

mixed-media halloween
Spooky Elegance

“Skeleton Bunnies” Debb George • Williams, IN
“What do you get when you mix Halloween and Easter? You get Skeleton Bunnies: pretty, little white‑and-black skeletons ready for their own holiday. She thinks she’s a diva bunny with her feather cape and rhinestone necklace. He is a cutie with his two buck teeth and a hat. They’d be glad to come and visit you. Just ask and they’ll hop right over.”
7 1/2″ tall

mixed-media halloween
Skeleton Bunnies

“Skeleton Sleuths” Susan Eisaman Gowan • Aurora, CO
“Combining some of my favorite themes—Nancy Drew mysteries, Day of the Dead, and creative recycling—I made these Calaveras from pill bottles, holiday lights packaging, sock hangers, pens, and toothbrushes. I hand knitted their clothing, made their chili pepper jewelry from recycled earrings, and hung them from an old coat hanger. The three friends are ready to go sleuthing in a dark closet, with Nancy carrying a magnifying glass, George holding a flashlight, and Bess clutching a key.”

mixed-media halloween
Skeleton Sleuths

Want to participate in a Cloth Paper Scissors reader challenge? Click here to get all the details on our latest challenge!


Want more mixed-media Halloween project ideas? Check out these products:

The September/October 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors features more spooky delights to create.
We also have this special Best of Fall Mixed Media Bundle featuring four of our favorite fall issues of Cloth Paper Scissors!

Become a Confident Artist with Lettering & Art Lessons

Don’t you love getting lost in a mixed-media project, so much that you lose track of time in that zone of happiness? That’s what happens when you dive into our Art Lessons and Lettering Lessons, monthly downloads that offer a deep exploration into a mixed-media technique or hand lettering style. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced artist, you need these in your life. Like, today.

If you love learning about new mixed-media techniques and finding lots of inspiration and ideas, Art Lessons are for you. If hand lettering is an integral part of your mixed-media art—or you want it to be—Lettering Lessons are a must. There’s a new tutorial in both categories every month, and you can start having fun and getting messy right after you download a lesson. Here’s how it works: Each lesson is just like a Cloth Paper Scissors magazine step-by-step project, but with extras: Almost every step has an accompanying photo, making it super easy to follow along. Plus, most of our lessons come with a companion video that shows one or more of the techniques in the lesson in real time. All you do is click on the link in the lesson and you can watch the video immediately. Lots of extra artwork samples in the lessons will spark additional ideas for your own pieces.

Become a more confident artist with our monthly Lettering and Art Lessons! Real and Implied Texture by Sandra Duran Wilson incorporates Tyvek to create a modern collage.

The theme for this year’s Art Lessons is Texture Adventures, and each lesson offers a unique take on adding visual or physical texture to mixed-media artwork. Here’s a rundown of some of the techniques covered in the lessons so far, and the fantastic artists who wrote them:

Here’s sample artwork from Katie Blaine’s Layering with Photo Transfers lesson, which shows you how to layer your own photo images and add mixed-media touches for punches of color, resulting in a fantastic piece:

Learn new ways to create photo transfers with Katie Blaine’s Art Lesson, Layering with Photo Transfers. (Art and photo by Katie Blaine.)

Can you stand it? In trying several of these techniques I have considerably ramped up my knowledge on creative techniques and materials.

Here’s the lowdown on some of the Lettering Lessons we’ve offered so far this year, with the theme of Lettering with Eclectic Style, and the contributing artists:

Here’s an example of Kari’s lettering that uses a Fine Line Pen to create lovely, colorful lettering. Never used a Fine Line Pen? Neither had I until I tried it and found how enjoyable it was, and what amazing results the pen produces. Having the photos and video to follow made it so easy!

Fine Line Pens are easy to work with and offer great results—Kari McKnight Holbrook shows you how in The Fine Line Painting Pen (Art and photo by Kari McKnight Holbrook.)

Hand lettering is one of the hottest trends in mixed-media art, and you’ll find no better place to learn a ton of styles than our Lettering Lessons. No calligraphy experience is necessary! Jodi Ohl’s fun techniques are built on your own handwriting, like her Cursive with Bold Color technique from Lettering Lessons Volume 4: Creative Cursive Hand Lettering. Can’t you just imagine adding this to your art journaling?

Letting your letters flow naturally is the key to creating unique styles; Jodi Ohl shows how in Creative Cursive Hand Lettering. (Art and photo by Jodi Ohl.)

When I tried Sandra Duran Wilson’s Venetian plaster technique from Art Lessons Volume 3: Venetian Plaster Party, I could not believe the results I got following her instructions. I loved the beginning of the lesson, where I learned how to blend fluid acrylic paints with water and alcohol to get a beautiful underpainting, which is created before applying the plaster. As I say in my blog post, I likely never would have discovered Venetian plaster had it not been for this lesson, and now it’s a staple in my art supplies.

Underpaintings are a key component of layered artwork, and Sandra Duran Wilson demonstrates how easy they are to create in Venetian Plaster Party. (Art and photo by Sandra Duran Wilson.)

Learning new techniques through these lessons is like having the artist right there with you, guiding and encouraging you. Being able to refer back to close-up photos or a video is key for ensuring great results. Our artists offer great tips, too, making sure every aspect is covered. Further along in Venetian Plaster Party, for example, Sandra shows how to paint fine shadows on stencil images to add dimension—a detail that adds so much to the piece.

Small details can mean big effects, like adding shadows to these stencil images. (Art and photo by Sandra Duran Wilson)

I also tried Kari McKnight Holbrook’s lettering technique of using arcs, waves, and undulating lines to create lettering on tags, and that was such a blast. What she uses as a template is brilliant, and this is truly a process that anyone can do. Add it to your art journaling, mail art, cards—with the holidays coming up, you are going to thank me for the heads up.

Using a template is great way to create undulating words; learn how in Waves, Undulations, and Arcs, by Kari McKnight Holbrook. (Art and photo by Kari McKnight Holbrook.)

A great way to discover past lessons is with our 12-month downloadable collections—that way you’ll have them all. When you add these to your mixed-media library you’ll never lack for fantastic ideas and the motivation to get started. These lessons have made me a much more confident artist, and let me tell you, that feeling is priceless. You know what I’m talking about. Give these lessons a try today and start achieving your creative goals!

The 2016 Art Lessons Collector’s Edition includes all 12 lessons in The Extra Touch Series. Learn how to add a book to a collage, use natural items for stamping, use fiber paste and paper clay, and much more!
Add beautiful lettering to your mixed-media art by learning an array of lettering styles using pens, markers, dip pens, brushes, and lots more in the 2015-2016 Collector’s Edition, Lettering with a Personal Touch.

Studio Saturday: Selling at Art and Craft Fairs

I’m going to skip the I-can’t-believe-it’s-October-already exasperation and go straight to the reality that the holidays are almost here. If you’re thinking about selling at art and craft fairs, yay! Selling your artwork can be extremely rewarding, and I’ve learned a ton from setting up shop at holiday markets. Today I’d love to share some business-y tips with you, and pull in some experts for even more wisdom.

I always like to start with why—why do you want to sell your work? Are you trying to grow a business? Make a little extra money? Expand your newsletter list and social media numbers? Get feedback on teaching in person or online classes? All of the above? Figuring out the ‘why’ will help you set your goals and expectations. For example, if you want to expand your newsletter and social media base, make sure you grab as many customer emails as you can at the show, and work social media like crazy before, during, and after the event.

Selling at art and craft fairs can help achieve goals (Photo courtesy of Renegade Craft Fair)
Selling at Art and Craft shows, like the Renegade Craft Fair, shown here, can help you achieve your goals. (Photo from the Winter 2015 issue of Artists & Makers magazine, courtesy of Renegade Craft Fair)

If your goal is to pull in some extra cash, then make sure your overhead margin is low, and pay extra attention to what you’re selling, ensuring there’s a wide range of offerings and prices.

The shows I’ve done were like mini-business workshops in terms of how much knowledge I gained, knowledge that I still use today. As prepared as I thought I was, I still made some mistakes, but I learned from them and moved on.

So before you pop open a folding table and set up your display, here are some helpful tips:

Do your homework. Know as much as you can about a show before signing up to sell. The types of people who attend the show, the size of the crowd, the other vendors, the facilities—all of these elements factor into your success. So attend a show if possible, search for online reviews, talk to the administrators, and solicit feedback from friends or colleagues who have attended or been vendors at the shows you’re interested in.

Remember the Girl Scout Motto. Selling at art and craft fairs is hard work, but you’ll have it a lot easier if you leave as little as possible to chance. Set up your display at home or in your studio, making sure your items are accessible and displayed well. In the Summer 2015 issue of Artists & Makers magazine, the article “Designed to Sell” featured incredible booth designs from a variety of artists around the country. One standout was Nic Annette Miller, a printmaker from Brooklyn, New York, who designed her booth to look like a fish market. Miller wanted to show off a new body of work that included woodcut sculpture prints of fish, and at the Renegade Craft Fair she built a booth that resembled a fish market in every way, from the signage to the faux ice the artwork was sitting on. “I studied a lot of fish markets on the Internet,” she said, “and went to local delis and farmers’ markets to see the colors, the wording, and the lettering for signage, even what the fishmongers wore.”

A unique display always gets noticed, like this faux fish market designed by Nic Annette Miller (Photo courtesy of Nic Annette Miller)
To sell her woodcut sculpture prints, Nic Annette Miller turned her booth into a faux fish market. (Photo from the Summer 2015 issue of Artists & Makers magazine, courtesy of Nic Annette Miller)

In addition to booth design, think about how you’re going to process payments, where you’re going to stow trash, how you’re going to display a banner, what kind of shopping bags you want to provide, etc. If your goal is to get newsletter and class sign-ups, make sure people have easy access to clipboards to leave emails. And if you bring in extra help, make sure they’re up on all procedures, are able to represent the merchandise, and can handle the rigors of a day or two of selling. If you’re able to walk around and visit other booths at the show, do so. You may get ideas for displays and décor that you can use for next time.

Have a sales goal, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet it. Factors you can’t control, such as weather and traffic, can have an effect on crowd size and sales.

Collaged paperweights by Michelle Spaw, featured in the article "Making the Most of Little Bits" in the 2010/2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts. (Art by Michelle Spaw, photo by Larry Stein)
Looking for some great ideas for holiday gifts? Try these collaged paperweights by Michelle Spaw, featured in “Making the Most of Little Bits” in the 2010/2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts. (Art by Michelle Spaw, photo by Larry Stein)

Put on a happy face. I can’t tell you the number of art and craft shows I’ve attended where I’ve encountered absolutely miserable vendors. They never look up at people who enter their booth, or worse—they scowl at customers. Some complain loudly about the lack of sales. Even if you haven’t made a cent all day, don’t let potential customers know that. Be your beautiful, shining, upbeat, genuine self no matter what.

Be revealing. At one of the first shows I ever did, I wasn’t sure how to engage customers beyond the usual small talk. I decided to tell them about my work as they looked at it, offering little tidbits that seemed interesting. For example, some of my handmade books had vintage tintypes for covers, and I told people that they were handling an actual photograph from the 1800s. If they seemed interested, I added that most of the materials I incorporated in my books were the real deal—old photos, maps, ledger pages, etc. Many times those info bites led to a sale, and I felt good knowing people were purchasing something that felt special to them. If you have interesting information to share about your work, go for it.

A handmade welcome sign adds a warm touch to a booth. (Art by Paige Martin, photo by Sharon White Photography)
Unique touches, such as this handmade paper-cut welcome sign, can set your booth apart and make it look inviting. Projects instructions can be found in Paper Art magazine. (Art by Paige Martin, photo by Sharon White Photography)

Although some artists believe they’re not good at selling themselves, those skills can be improved. In the Summer 2015 issue of Artists & Makers magazine, career and life coach Mary Edwards said that people who buy art are curious about the person who made it: “It’s not like buying a toaster or a washing machine. Art is a personal product.…You might explain how you find your materials, what inspired you to create a particular painting, or what your art is all about.”

Provide a spark. Sometimes people need a little extra inspiration before making a purchase. Using handmade books as an example again, many people admire the workmanship that goes into a one-of-a-kind blank book, but they haven’t a clue as to what to use it for. After noticing people’s unfamiliarity with blank books at one show, at the next one I put up a small sign suggesting ways to use empty journals. I also brought some of my own filled journals, showing ways in which you can use books to record your life: sketching, making lists, storing favorite wine bottle labels, writing recipes, displaying photos, on and on. If you make artwork that’s best displayed on a wall, hang some pieces on a wall. If you make accessories, wear them and display them in ways that show how they’d be worn. Providing a few ideas will go a long way toward your success.

Here’s another tip that Jennifer Bertrand shared in the Winter 2015 issue of Artists & Makers magazine: “Create conversation topics through signage and notes,” she said. “Post fun messages…with little insights into your work and your workspace. Some notes could have details about your creative career, such as, ‘I entered my first art contest when I was three.’” Jennifer uses this idea at studio open houses, but it’s perfect for selling at art and craft fairs, too.

Cards by Ro Bruhn, featured in the 2011/2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts. (Art by Ro Bruhn, photo by Larry Stein)
When selling at art and craft fairs, offer a range of merchandise and prices. Ro Bruhn created these collaged cards, featured in “Festive Fabric Cards” in the 2011/2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts. (Art by Ro Bruhn, photo by Larry Stein)

Market to your market. Use social media to let people know about the event, and what you’ll be selling. Tease pieces you’re bringing, offer reminders of when and where you’ll be, and try to post photos on your favorite platforms while you’re at the show. You never know who could be in the neighborhood, see your post or tweet, and stop by.

Just to recap. After the show, make notes about what worked and what didn’t work, so you’ll have a record for the next time. If selling at art and craft shows is something you want to pursue, don’t be discouraged if your first time out isn’t a home run. The next one will be better, and as you learn more, your sales will improve.

Planning on selling at art and craft fairs this holiday season? Get great ideas and tips from these resources!

Summer 2015 issue of Artists & Makers magazine
Get fantastic tips on selling your work in the Summer 2015 issue of Artists & Makers magazine.
Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts magazine, 2010/2011 issue
Fantastic holiday mixed-media projects can be found in the 2010/2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts.
The Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market 2017
The Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market 2017 is the must-have reference guide you need for selling your work.

The Inktober Challenge is Here!

We’re into the first few days of the Inktober drawing challenge—have you joined yet? This month artists are challenging themselves to create an ink drawing each day, and we’re excited to see what people are creating. Art challenges are a great way to build up a daily creative habit and improve your skills, and this is a really fun one.

Artist Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009 as a way to develop his own inking skills, and the event has grown considerably, with thousands of people all over the world sharing their work on social media with the hashtag #Inktober. As I’ve mentioned before, my goal with the challenge is to spend quality time with my dip pens and inks, and discover what we can do together.

Inktober
Watch your skills improve during Inktober as you commit to create an ink drawing a day in the month of October.

To prepare for a month of drawing with ink, I amassed some vintage nibs, a couple of nib holders, staked out a sketchbook with nice, smooth paper, and treated myself to some new inks, including calligraphy and acrylic. Some of the inks are waterproof, while others are water soluble; since I’ll be incorporating my drawings with mixed media, it’s nice to have a choice.

I spent the first few pre-Inktober days getting familiar with my pens and inks, discovering what effects I could get, and how best to use them. On this page, I experimented with a round nib and water-soluble blue-black calligraphy ink. I love the bold lines I got with the nib, and the deep blue ink color is seriously gorgeous.

Inktober
I had no idea this round nib could produce such beautiful lines!

With an extra-fine nib and red-brown ink I created some quick sketches and tested out various line widths by pressing the nib harder against the paper.

Inktober
Taking time to get comfortable with your materials will boost your confidence.

I’m eager to try the pens with watercolor, see what effects I can get with acrylic inks, and draw on various types of papers and ephemera—a great excuse to use up some of my ever-growing stash.

By the way, you don’t have to know how to draw to take part in Inktober. Create doodles, shapes, lettering, or patterns with ink. If you want to learn some drawing skills, go for it! The excitement is in where a daily habit like this can take you.

If you need inspiration, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Cloth Paper Scissors artists love using inks, and you’ll find even more ink-centric projects in our Art and Lettering Lessons. Take, for example, Kari McKnight Holbrook’s Lettering Lesson Volume 8: The Fine-Line Painting Pen. She uses a unique metal tool that delivers a fine line of ink via a little reservoir, allowing you to easily create beautiful letters and images. The reservoir lets you cover a lot of ground before refilling.

Inktober
This funky tool is easy to use and perfect for drawing or writing with ink—try it during Inktober! (Art and photo by Kari McKnight Holbrook)

As Kari explains in the lesson, “The look is a bit organic, with depth of lights and darks within even the thinnest of lines, mimicking the lines produced with a dip pen.” The tool doesn’t rust, and can be used with ink, watercolor, and acrylic, and oil paints. I tried it and loved it, and in almost no time I was creating gorgeous letters and doodles, and mixing colors easily. You really need to give this one a go.

Even pen and ink doesn’t compare to the incredible results you get with the Fine Line Pen. (Art and photo by Kari McKnight Holbrook)

Looking for a way to really let go? Karen O’Brien has you covered. Imagine using the dropper from an acrylic ink bottle—just the dropper—to draw. She shows how in her book Imaginary Characters, saying that these ink drawings “can be a freeing starting point for a painting or journal page. Using a dropper as a drawing tool forces you to stay loose and expressive.”

Karen’s ink techniques for creating can also be found in Faces magazine; she uses an ink dropper to create the basic elements of a face, allows it to drip, then adds pencil, acrylic paint, and more to complete the piece.

Start loose and stay loose with Karen O’Brien’s technique of drawing with an ink dropper. (Art by Karen O’Brien, photo by Sharon White Photography)

A technique I’m in love with is using sumi ink with watercolor to create etegami, a type of traditional Japanese folk art. In “Mixed-Media Etegami” in the July/August issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, Diana Trout uses the jet-black ink to enhance postcards with renderings of natural elements such as flowers and fruit. Working with this ink in conjunction with watercolor makes for absolutely beautiful artwork, which can be enhanced even more with ephemera and washi tape.

Sumi ink and watercolor is a fantastic combination, and yet another way to get great effects with ink. (Art by Diana Trout, photo by Sharon White Photography)

There’s so much more to explore, and we have just the resources to get you started. Start today and join the Inktober challenge! (Inktober was created by Jake Parker. “Inktober” and its logo are trademarks of JP Creative LLC, and are used with permission. For more information, go to inktober.com.)

In Abstracts in Acrylic & Ink, author Jodi Ohl shows you techniques and approaches to creating beautiful abstracts using inks and mixed media.
Take mark making to the next level with ideas you’ll discover in the Dina Wakley video Art Journal Mark Making: Throwing Ink.
Get Diana Trout’s complete instructions for making etegami postcards in the July/August issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.