Dina’s 4 Ways to Loosen Up Your Brushstrokes | Art Journal Tips

Have you ever been afraid to do something risky, like walk across a narrow bridge? That’s how making an art journal can feel sometimes. It’s a little scary to take the first step and put paint down onto the paper. You may hesitate. You may feel nervous. But artists like Dina Wakley are here to guide you. After reading her tips on how to relax when it comes to making art, I feel as though the bridge isn’t so narrow. See which of these techniques is new to you–and try them all in your art journal.

For more techniques, get her Art Journal Mark Making and Throwing Ink DVD
For more techniques, get Dina’s Art Journal Mark Making and Throwing Ink DVD

4 Ways to Loosen Up Your Brushstrokes by Dina Wakley

Students in my classes often tell me that they wish they could loosen up with their art. Loose and free is the only way I roll (I’m not very good at controlled and precise). Here are a few tips for loosening up–try these for warm-ups and for creating background papers for collage. Don’t worry about making a finished work of art. Play and experiment and commit to going through lots of paper.

• Stand up and hold your brush by the end (not by the bristles). Make large movements with your whole arm, not just your hand or fingers.
• Close your eyes and paint large strokes on your page. Use colors that are analogous (next to each other on the color wheel), and you won’t make mud.
• Water down some paint (again, keep your colors analogous) and puddle it in a corner. Use your fingers to flick the paint across your page.
• Set a timer for a short stint (60 seconds, for example) and paint like the wind. When it goes off, you’re done.

I hope these tips help you loosen up and have fun! ~Dina

Surely they will. Knowing that you can confidently work and experiment with your chosen colors is one of the first steps to making pleasing art journal pages and more. Of course, it helps to have plenty of guidance such as this, so take advantage of the Art Journal June DVD sale, which includes Dina’s “Art Journal” series and many other useful resources.

Go forth with confidence,


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Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Painting Techniques, Mixed-Media Techniques


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