Wondering what to get for the mixed-media artists on your holiday gift list? You’ve come to the right place! I’ve got great ideas for your friends and loved ones, so read on for artist gifts from Interweave that every creative type will love: art journalers, painters, collage, enthusiasts, flower fantatics—we’re covering all bases! And don’t miss a fun tutorial at the end, as I show you a great way to wrap everything up—mixed-media style, of course.
1. For the beginning art journaler: Someone who’s just starting on their art journaling journey will appreciate great instruction that’s filled with tons of techniques and ideas:
- Art Journaling Exercises: 15 Creative Prompts with Rae Missingman not only offers techniques galore, but great tips on using a variety of materials, too.
- Art Journal Freedom by Dina Wakley features doable art journaling techniques as well as helpful information on color and composition.
- More mixed-media techniques that can be applied to art journal pages are in the video Card Play: MixedMedia Techniques for Small Works of Art, with Seth Apter.
- Add-on: A sturdy art journal that opens flat and has heavy paper suitable for wet media is always a welcome gift.
2. For the experienced art journaler: Give them fun challenges via books and videos that will rock their creative worlds:
- Art Journaling Live 2 features top instructors Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Nathalie Kalbach, Mary Beth Shaw, and Dina Wakley and includes workshops on lettering, mixed-media faces, abstract journal pages, and more!
- Learn how to make a one-of-a-kind book in the video Upcycled Art Journal: Layered and Tattered Techniques, with Kristen Robinson.
- Watercolor is the hot new supply for art journaling, and Gina Rossi Armfield shows how to use it for journaling and beyond in No Excuses Watercolor: Painting Techniques for Sketching and Journaling.
- Add-on: A compact watercolor palette can be used anywhere, and come with a variety of beautiful palettes. Or, customize one with the recipient’s favorite colors.
3. For the collage fanatic: So many interesting techniques can be incorporated into collage, such as painting, printmaking, and even stitch. Give these artist gifts that run the gamut:
- Painted Paper Art Workshop: Easy and Colorful Collage Paintings by Elizabeth St. Hilaire shows ways to create unique collage papers and how to use them in stunning collages.
- In Storytelling with Collage: Techniques for Layering Color & Texture by Roxanne Evans Stout, discover how to incorporate found objects, textiles, and more, to tell a unique story.
- Expressive Collage Workshop: Encaustic with Imagery features great tips on getting started with encaustic, and how to marry it with collage.
- Add-on: What collage artist doesn’t love ephemera? Compile a package of colorful and textured papers, plus photos, book text, sheet music, and maps.
4. For the mixed-media painter: Painters are always hungry for new styles and techniques, and they want to know their way around various paints and mediums. These fit the bill:
- Mixed media and painting were made for each other. Discover ways to incorporate both in still lifes, collages, and more in Bold Expressive Painting: Painting Techniques for Still Lifes, Florals and Landscapes in Mixed Media by Annie O’Brien Gonzales.
- Improve your painting skills and hone your style with Acrylic Painting Studio: Working in a Series with Staci Swider. Staci deftly shows how to create a cohesive collection of paintings.
- Walk on the abstract side with Jodi Ohl’s Zen Painting Workshop: Building Layers and Colors. Work with ink, pencil, paint, and ink to create stunning abstract pieces.
- Add-on: Professional-grade acrylic paints are what every artist wants; start with primaries, plus black and white, for a great basic set.
5. For the flower aficionado: These artist gifts are way better than a bouquet of blossoms, since they show how to create florals in mixed media:
- Painted Blossoms: Creating Expressive Flower Art with Mixed Media by Carrie Schmitt lets you design your ideal garden by creating vivid blooms.
- Expressive Watercolor on YUPO®: Painting Flowers with Jodi Ohl shows how to create bold floral compositions, and throws another technique into the mix—working on YUPO paper.
- Incorporate paint, collage, and more to make still life compositions in Expressive Still Lifes: Mixed Media Painting Workshop, with Annie O’Brien Gonzales.
- Add-on: A quirky vase or two is a great prop for floral paintings and collages.
6. For the lettering lover: Amass a collection of lettering techniques that will last a long time. Go for a variety of styles, so there’s one for every occasion and type of artwork.
- Happy Hand Lettering by Jen Wagner includes lettering instruction, plus information on tools and fun projects, so you have a place to put those beautiful words.
- Joanne Sharpe has ideas galore, and she loves sharing them. In Doodle Art and Lettering With Joanne Sharpe, she offers new alphabets; drawing, painting, and mixed-media techniques; and lots of prompts and artwork examples.
- Get an assortment of lettering styles in the 2015-2016 Collector’s Edition of Lettering Lessons. Twelve lessons with companion videos offer tons of ideas and projects.
- Add-on: An assortment of artist-grade pens and markers is perfect for any lettering artist. Give pens with a variety of nibs, such as brush, bullet, and fine-tip. Other choices include markers with glitter, metallic ink, and bright neon colors.
You’re not going to wrap these artist gifts in something generic, are you? I didn’t think so. I’m fanatical about giftwrap, to the point where I sometimes spend more time on wrapping the gift than on the gift itself. Lucky for you, this fun technique for mixed-media hand-printed wrap is quick, and you get a two-for-one project out of it!
I used a piece of off-white Lokta paper for the substrate, but you can use any lightweight hand or machine-made paper. It should hold up to wet media, but be easy to fold. To print, I used two Gelli Arts Mini Printing Plates, one round, the other hexagonal.
For the first printing technique I applied a thin layer of neon pink acrylic paint over the plate with a brayer. When working with acrylic paint and Gelli plates, do a few practice prints to make sure your application of paint isn’t too thick or thin. Heavy-body, fluid and craft paints will print differently.
Place a stencil over the plate and brayer another color over it. Since I was working wet-on-wet I went monochromatic and used dark red.
Remove the stencil and press the plate onto the paper. I kept the back sheet of protective plastic on the plate because I find it easier to print that way, but you can remove it. To turn the print into an ornament, I drew a hanger and hook with a black permanent pen, and also outlined the shape.
For the second printing technique I applied fluid acrylic in medium green on the hexagonal plate, again using a brayer, and allowed it to dry.
With a cosmetic sponge, I applied darker green paint onto a foam stamp, then pressed the plate onto the stamp. The plate is clear, so you can easily see what area of the stamp you want to use. And since the first layer dries before the second goes on, you can use complementary colors with this technique (pink and green, turquoise and orange) without creating mud.
The plate was pressed onto the paper, directly over the first print, and also turned into an ornament with a permanent pen.
It didn’t take me long to cover the entire sheet, and deciding to use only two shapes, two designs, and four colors made the process go quickly.
Doesn’t it look great covering a box? Use this technique for handmade giftwrap all year long, customizing it to the season, occasion, and the recipient. If your recipient is good at preserving giftwrap, it can be repurposed for more mixed-media art. If you don’t grab it back from them, that is. Not that I’ve ever done it. Just seen it happen.
Here’s the bonus project: The second printing of a monoprint plate is called a ghost print, since it has just the ghost of the original image. I added several ghost prints onto a page in my art journal, and also pressed on the paint-covered stencil a few times as well. I love that I have a great head start on a new page.
Wishing you lots of fun and creativity this holiday season!
We’ve got more holiday ideas, like these fun and easy Fabric Circle Topiaries!