It’s the start of a new year, and I’m so excited to tell you about the January/February issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. If you want more creative confidence and extra enjoyment out of making art, this is the issue you must see! No matter where you are in your art practice—rank beginner or seasoned pro—there are moments when self-assurance hits rock bottom. Maybe you don’t like what you’ve been making lately. Perhaps you’ve gone on social media and saw artwork you thought was better than yours. You are not alone.
But by trying something new, facing your fears, and undertaking something challenging, I guarantee your confidence will soar. You don’t have to be brilliant your first time out. It’s in the trying, the commitment, the perseverance, and the progress, that you’ll find your mettle.
The theme was sparked by something that happened to me. A couple of years ago I decided to do something about one of my biggest regrets: not being able to draw. I have always wanted to create expressive sketches, and I finally tamped down the negative voices in my head and took some classes.
The process was not easy. In three multi-week workshops over a year and a half, I struggled with basic techniques. There were times I hated my artwork and wanted to give up. But I also had joyous breakthroughs when things suddenly clicked. Taking those classes is one of the best things I’ve ever done, and now sketching is part of my mixed-media repertoire.
In learning how to draw, some profound changes happened. I started seeing the world, and art, in a different way. More importantly, I started gaining creative confidence in myself and in my artwork. I realized I had the capacity to learn how to draw, after telling myself I would never be able to. Now, I don’t believe you have to know how to draw to be an artist. That’s just silly. But for me, being able to sketch an apple—and have it look like an apple—was a huge step in believing in my potential.
Most of the projects in this issue are designed to challenge you a little and get you out of your comfort zone. There’s nothing you can’t handle, and you’ll have fun along the way. Lora Murphy shows how to achieve a stunning layered look in mixed media, using innovative techniques (page 50). Layering is such a big part of mixed media, but knowing the sweet spot between too much and too little can be tough. Lora will guide you there.
Creating artwork in a series can be challenging—how do you make a collection cohesive and meaningful, and convey your vision across several pieces? Dorit Elisha has great ideas for concepts and designs that you’ll love (page 74).
Some of us are guilty of making books and leaving them empty (raising my hand), but after seeing how Rachel Hazell fashions books that tell a story, you’ll never lack for inspiration or the creative confidence to fill a book with intriguing content (page 80).
Discovering great surface design techniques is on every mixed-media artist’s wish list. With one fantastic substrate, you can create a host of amazing things. Lynda Monk takes us on a fun adventure with Tyvek, bubble wrap, fabric, and foil, and this one will put your creativity on overdrive, as she shows how to use the material for notebook covers, tags, handbags, and more (page 68).
We have a few new features this year that I think you’ll like. Chris Cozen shows how to turn inspiration into unique artwork in Exploration: Painting (page 20), and she kicks us off with a painting based on mid-century modern design. In Road Test (page 15) you’ll get the low-down from fellow artists on how to use new mixed-media materials. In this issue, Mou Saha takes Faber-Castell’s Honey Medium for a spin, with terrific results. Carrie Bloomston is in the house, offering advice, wisdom, and encouragement for all creative types in her column The Spark. Her words will lift you (page 36).
Starting the year off with a boost of confidence is a fantastic way to begin 2018, and we have plenty of ideas in the January/February issue to get you there. Happy New Year, and here’s to exciting adventures!
Before you make Rachel Hazell’s book project, check out her guest blog on the best places to find ephemera!