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.
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:
- Using Venetian plaster with stencils to get amazing layered effects, by Sandra Duran Wilson.
- Creating photo transfers with gesso and gel medium, over a canvas textured with molding paste, by Katie Blaine.
- Adding visual texture to a mixed-media piece with dip pens and ink, by Sandrine Pelissier.
- Staining, stamping, and stitching tea bags to create a collage, by Crystal Neubauer.
- Using textures found in nature to inspire dimensional artwork that begs to be touched, by Nathalie Kalbach.
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:
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:
- Creating hand-cut and hand-carved letters, by Jodi Ohl.
- Using waves, undulations, and arcs to form unique letters with movement, by Kari McKnight Holbrook.
- Making decorated monograms that can be personalized, by Alexandra Snowdon.
- Adding funky and whimsical touches to cursive handwriting, by Jodi Ohl.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!