Dina Wakley, our featured artist this month, shares a multitude of tips and techniques for creating expressive mixed-media art. Her videos and books are chockfull of ideas and inspiration. Whether you’re new to mixed-media art or have enjoyed it for ages, you’ll find plenty of interesting and inspiring nuggets from Dina. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Not confident in your drawing? In Dina’s first book: Art Journal Freedom: How to Journal Creatively with Color & Composition she shares a technique in the Artsy Painted Birds chapter for adding an image without having to draw: Use graphite paper and trace the image! Trace what you need to get started (you don’t have to trace every line), and make it your own with your favorite mixed-media techniques. Now there are no limits (and no excuses) for not adding images to your art.
2. Don’t let a blank page intimidate you. In Dina’s video Art Journal Mark Making: Throwing Ink, she suggests having a mark-making morning. Spend a morning making marks on watercolor paper with everything from rubber bands and shoe laces to empty spools and even your fingers, and then fill a file folder with the results. The next time you sit down to create, you’ll have plenty of papers to choose from to get started, and not have to face a blank page.
3. Create a watercolor look with acrylic paint. In her Art Journal Animals: 10 Mixed Media Techniques video, Dina shows how to get a painterly watercolor effect with her wet-into-wet technique, using acrylic paint and water. Working with bird images stamped with permanent ink, Dina paints in stages. Starting with the lightest color, she adds a medium shade, and then finishes with a darker color to create beautiful lines and shadows with the look of watercolor. For these birds, Dina added paint splatters over the top creating even more interest and depth.
4. Add some stitching to collage elements for added texture. For this collage from her book Art Journal Freedom, Dina cut circles freehand, inked the edges with black permanent ink, giving them definition, and then added free-motion stitching with black thread. It’s amazing what a little extra attention to the elements in a collage does for a piece. These circles really pop.
5. Use a Stabilo® All pencil for all kinds of fun. Dina calls it a “magic pencil.” After tracing the birds in the Artsy Painted Birds chapter (see #1 above), Dina retraced the images with an All pencil and added more details. Adding a bit of water to the pencil lines with a paintbrush created great shadows and shading. After painting the birds with acrylic paint, Dina touched up some of the lines and added more details with the All pencil, right over the paint!
Dina’s books and videos have a plethora of mixed-media techniques, tips, and inspiring artwork. I encourage you to check them out for yourself. You’ll also find Dina’s work in Cloth Paper Scissors Art Lessons and Cloth Paper Scissors Faces magazine.