Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
Looking at mixed media art examples from other artists is a GREAT way to get inspired if you're ever feeling creatively stuck. As you'll see, my mixed media art journal is a place where I love to swatch, experiment, paint, collage, plan or teach online art lessons for Awesome Art School & SO much more!
Do you have an art journal, or have you always wanted to try it but didn't know how? Download my Kick-in-the-Pants Guide to Starting an Art Journal with inspiring quotes from one of my favorite people, Bob Ross. Simply click the button below and I'll send it straight to your inbox!
Once you've printed out your guide, meet me here to watch the series that goes along with it, or check out today's art journal flip-through first.
Before we continue, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support.
For me, art journaling is a place where I can swatch new art supplies, experiment, play, plan or teach the lessons I create for Awesome Art School.
This particular art journal is filled with fountain pen ink paintings like the one above, because I started experimenting with fountain pen ink right around the same time as I bought this journal.
I love to work big, so I always buy the 11x14 size, but there are some smaller ones available too. This watercolor sketchbook is filled with 140 lb. cold press (textured) paper and can honestly take ANYTHING I throw at it from watercolor pencils to full-blown, multi-layer "Hamburger Style" projects with collage, acrylics and mod podge.
If you've never done a mixed media art journal before, or aren't sure what kind to buy, I'm in LOVE with this hardcover watercolor sketchbook by Strathmore. It's the journal featured in today's video and countless others.
If you're going to work with any type of wet medium, and want to work in an art journal, you always want to be working on watercolor paper because it's the sturdiest and will hold up to whatever you're using.
How gorgeous is that red fountain pen ink in these paintings? It's called Widow Maker by Noodlers. It is SO vibrant and fun to work with.
As I mentioned, an art journal can be a great place to experiment with art supplies and learn which ones work well together. Look closely at the painting below on the left.
Do you see a sheen to it? I tested adding pan pastels to my fountain pen ink painting and wanted to see if it would hold up to a sealer (in this case just mod podge). It TOTALLY did, and I think the mod podge layer made this piece even more vibrant than it already was.
I mentioned how sometimes I will plan out a potential project in my art journals too. This one is of a cute interior from Wardhill Castle, the turret bathroom.
How cute is that?! I scribbled some musings about the castle and my curiosity as to whether or not it's legit haunted off to the side :)
Make sure you click over to watch the full video because there are lots of other pieces in this journal that I didn't feature on the blog today.
I hope today's flip-through is giving you tons of mixed media ideas to try in your own art journal. And seriously, if you've always wondered about starting an art journal, but don't know how, or feel intimidated... you've gotta check out this series.
It's a gentle "Kick-in-the-Pants" from me with quotes from Bob Ross to get you creating!
Need more resources to get your creative juices flowing?
❤️ CHECK OUT ALL my art books on AMAZON
❤️ CHECK OUT ALL my online art classes @ Awesome Art School
❤️ MY FAVORITE ART SUPPLIES on AMAZON (affiliate links)
❤️ MY BELOVED FACEBOOK GROUP
Who doesn't love SASSY Pinup Girl Art?! Seriously!!
Why have I not shown you how to draw a pinup girl before?! I had such a blast with this art journal page and can't wait for you to try it! Today’s video is a FULL LENGTH mixed media art project, so if you love vintage collage, pinup girl drawings, art journaling, my hamburger system OR mixed media tutorials - this is for YOU!
Not sure what I'm talking about when I say "Hamburger System?" NO PROBLEM!!
I've got you!! My Hamburger System is a simple mixed media layering system I've developed over time after TONS of trial and error from playing with ALL the art supplies I could get my hands on!! I used to get asked all the time (and still do!) about my mixed media process, and what order I layer my mixed media art supplies in.
I've broken it down for you layer by layer and created a fun step by step video series on YouTube, created a FREE cheatsheet you can download, and EVEN ending up pouring it all into a book because I think it's that helpful to have as a reference on your art table.
I love collaging art journal backgrounds with new materials and trying out new art journal ideas, so was thrilled to try doing a postcard collage! I was not sure how this was gonna work because I've never done much with postcard art, or collaging materials with a glossy sheen, but I was in the mood to BREAK a FEW RULES!!
Grab your art journal, some vintage postcards, your acrylics, gelatos, pitt pens and ALL your mixed media hamburger supplies because it's TIME TO PLAY!!!
How ADORABLE is this retro pinup girl I found to use as our reference image for todays' project??!!
I'm SO excited to paint her into the foreground!!
Before we go any further, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links, but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support!!
If you follow me, you know I'm a super fan of liquitex matte medium for my collage layer, but since I've already started this project in a rebel mood- I'm gonna go ahead and continue that streak!
These postcards are pretty substantial, so I grabbed my good old fashioned Weldbond adhesive because I don't want them buckling or separating. I want them to be locked down and rock solid.
Initially I hadn't planned to use masking tape for this project, but it was sitting next to my art journal, and I've used masking tape tons in the past on my collage layer, so decided to frame my page around the edges. Not only will this add some additional texture to my collage background, it will help to strengthen the edges of my page.
Before we get TOO FAR into the project- we need to talk about background vs. foreground. While I totally love each and every one of these postcards individually AND the composition they've magically created together in my background - I'm not gonna let myself get attached. I KNOW it's hard, but you need to do this to if you intend to paint or draw something into the foreground of your piece. A background is simply that- a background. Of course we want it to be awesome, but we can't be precious about it.
To help me with that, I've added a few scrappy pieces of masking tape in the center of my page, and my stamps!
Next, I added some gesso with my brayer to kick the background back even more, so I have some space to draw.
Don't let this hurt, ok? Background is background! We're prepping the space for someone fun to appear in the foreground, so we need this to head backstage. The rough application with my brayer helps the background take on a bit of a grungy look - which I LOVE. To bring that out a bit more- I added some brown acrylics around the edges.
I know some mixed media art fans kinda hate drawing, but I love it, so a lot of my work ends up as mixed media portraits (because I LOVE drawing faces and teaching people how to draw a whimsical face!).
If you love drawing faces, you HAVE to join me over on my YouTube Drawing channel for my Whimsical Women of the Women of the World series. We're having a blast and you can do this on your own time, any time you want!
If you're totally new to drawing faces, check this series out on my YouTube Drawing Channel to get you started!!
You'll learn how to draw a whimsical face in pencil. It's super easy and relaxed. Then I show you how to add a little bit of shading, and we build on those skills when you're ready for more!
I get a ton of questions about how to draw so many random things, and I really encourage using a reference photo because everything you need to know to create a beautiful drawing is already in the photo. All you do have to do is draw what you see! A reference makes things SO much easier. And if you choose to draw in a whimsical style like I typically do - it's way more forgiving than realism. AND more fun (I think!!).
After your pinup girl drawing is all sketched in - it's time to kick things up a notch and add some color!!!
Have FUN layering in your acrylics and gelatos. Just keep on moving up the hamburger layering system from the bottom up! If you have questions about your supplies and where or when they go, just use your cheatsheet! If you didn't grab that yet, click the button below to have it sent straight to your email!
When I'm happy with my gelatos and acrylic layers, I'm ready to seal it - which is layer number 4. At this point, nothing should move when I add mod podge except for my gelatos. They will melt a little bit, so be prepared for that.
If you don't want anything to move (this totally freaks some people out, and that's ok!) - you can just choose to work only with materials that are nonwatersoluble, and permanent - like acrylics!
Tons of students ask me if watercolors are ok to use in the Hamburger System and where to put them. I honestly don't use them AT ALL in the Hamburger system because they are SO reactive, and just their own animal!
I save up my watercolor love for other projects. Watercolors play nicely with colored pencils, paint pens, fountain pen ink, pens, etc. - and I totally love them, just not for my "Hamburger" projects.
Remember - my Hamburger System is not the only way to go with mixed media- it's just a fun pattern I've developed for layering over time that I love and find to be pretty fail safe. It always gives me gorgeous results, and because I want YOUR art to be AWESOME - I've shared this with you so you have NO questions about what supplies play nicely together and you can just have FUN, which is the most important part of art-ing, am I right?!
Once my mod podge layer dries, it's time to have some fun with my pitt pens! They're made by Faber Castell and filled with India Ink, and I LOVE using them to "paint" more details on the mixed media faces and mixed media animals I love creating. They actually make an awesome skin tone pack that you might want to check out if you don't have any pitt pens and are interested in trying them out. So fun!!
Make sure you do a test swatch of these before you put them on your project because the caps can totally can trick you here and there!
At this point, I just have a blast shading and doodling all over the place with my pitt pens to add detail and depth on my slippery mod podge surface. I use my finger to blend for shading in the face. The amazing thing about this layer and playing with pitt pens, is they can be erased with a baby wipe if something happens that you don't like!!
If you're following along with my cheatsheet for the Hamburger System, you can feel free to seal this layer with mod podge, and then go back to add even MORE doodles!
If you do get any smears with your mod podge here - like I did (because my black pitt pen marks weren't quite dry in one spot before I added my mod podge), that's ok! Everything is fixable- we can figure it out. Just take a breath and redirect the smear!
I always finish up with a white sharpie pen or posca pen / paint marker to add some highlights that pop - they make SUCH a huge difference in your art! Watch the video to see exactly where I love to jazz my girls up, and make them glow!!
Once I'm good to go with my highlights and have finished adding some distress marks to the edges of my art journal page, it's time to seal her up so she doesn't move and so my art journal pages will not stick together.
This is one the HUGEST questions I get from students- "How to keep art journal pages from sticking together?!"
So here ya go - my answer is at the end of today's video. Be sure to stay with me till the end for that tidbit!!
Thank you so much for hanging out with me today!
I hope you LOVED this project and will see ya back here next Friday!! Have a fab weekend!!
I hope you're staying safe indoors and have found some activities to keep your mind, heart and soul occupied and happy.
I personally find the best way to keep my heart and mind happy is to keep my body busy!! I've gone on A LOT of walks. But I'm also keeping busy with painting and drawing!!!
You may remember from last week's email that we painted our son Max's room?
Well yesterday I painted his favorite video game character in there too. Lifesize.
'Cause, really, why not if it keeps me busy and him DELIGHTED!
Seemed like a double win so we went for it!
Sadly it only took me 2 hours so I still had to keep busy for the rest of the day but it definitely helped me take my mind off of things for an afternoon.
Since being creative is working so well for ME these days, I thought maybe it would work well for you too!
So today I'm bringing you a fun demonstration tutorial about how to use colored pencils to help you shade your mixed media drawn faces.
The funny thing is that I REALLY DO HATE COLORED PENCILS. You can see so (and learn why) in the video!! lol!
But then you can also see how I use them to really pack a shading PUNCH to my best art journal faces.
Here's a peek!
Ready to learn and see? Grab some pencils and meet me at your art table. Then press play and let's gooooo!
Are you still afraid or unsure of where to put shading on your drawn or painted faces?
You are SO NOT ALONE!! I hear this all the time from my Awesome Art School students.
And I finally figured out a really fun but also CONCRETE way to not only explain how face shading works, but also how to SHOW you.
Sooooo many people are SCARED of shading, this video was made to HELP YOU!
I know money is tight for so so many these days so along with the video, I'm also giving out a FREE 4 page pdf bundle of Face Drawing Cheatsheets that go along with the video.
Because you are on my newsletter list, I am giving you the link here that will allow you to download all four incredibly helpful resources:
I do need to add though, you're sort of wasting your time printing these out without watching the video today, they really go hand in hand.
So really, to get the full understanding of the sheets, go and watch the video below and THEN go download the pages when you're ready to give it a go!
Easy and Fast Art Journal Cover tutorial PLUS my 7 BEST TIPS on How to Completely Redo an Art Journal Page you HATE!
This week's free lesson is part 4 of 4 in a free comprehensive series that covers art journaling...well...everything under the sun having to do with art journaling!
I'm covering a TON of art journaling tips with you today including a full art journal cover tutorial PLUS 7 easy ways to save (and how to fix) an art journal page using mixed media collage, gesso, and black gesso techniques and so so much more!
To recap the other videos in the series:
Video 1 is a full hour-long video addressing ALL of the fears you may be experiencing that may be holding you back and keeping you from diving into art journaling! I put together a 5 page pdf with helpful suggestions that goes with this episode as well as advice from myself and close (cardboard) friend, Bob Ross PLUS 5 easy ways to get you kick-started into art journaling!
Video 2 was also a full-length tutorial that covered... So the background is done.... NOW WHAT?! I included my 10 BEST tips and tricks about choosing a color scheme and how to plan out successful composition in your art journals! I even made a free pdf for you that covers those points! Check out the second in the series right here now!
Video 3 was then a full length tutorial using one of the backgrounds we created in Episode 1!!! We made a trio of ridiculously funny Emus and I show you the truth behind that art journal mixed media page; the doubts, the frustrations, and then how I was able to power through to complete it using the pdf I handed out in Episode 1 as well! To rewatch Episode 3 click to watch here!
Video 4 is 7 Easy Ways to Save an Art Journal page you destroyed (or to fix on you hate!!) as well as my favorite way to cover an art journal!! Link to watch Episode 4 is below! And yes, I have a cheatsheet for you too!
Look how cute my journal cover came out!! And it only takes a few minutes!
Have any further questions on any of this? Leave me a comment below!
Each Friday I publish a free video on YouTube related to drawing, mixed media or art journaling. Well in today's video I am going the extra mile and bringing you a full blown, 1 hour, real time lesson on how to paint this ridiculously absurd trio of....EMU's!!!
I'm so proud to say that the page was painted with paints from my Signature Collection over at Jerry's Artarama. Even though I have 2 kits (one for Fairy Faces and one for Whimsical Animals), these Silly Emus were painted with paints from the Fairy Faces collection, lol!! That's the beauty of art I guess, at the end of the day, can you REALLY put paints into a single category?!
But back to the "emus"...I know what you're thinking..."What in the WHAT?!"
In addition to laughing my head off while painting this (for obvious reasons, I mean, look at the guys little face!!!), I ALSO ALMOST did not pull this off!! I really didn't!!
Do you know how much pressure there is to teach online? Knowing that thousands of people may be laughing hysterically and NOT with you? But AT YOU?
I know we ALL struggle with feelings of not being good enough or talented or creative enough to finish our art pieces from time to time.
Today you can see me struggle as well. I hope by watching you'll know that you're not alone!!!
I don't want to spoil too much of the ending but suffice it to say I do get some help...
Thanks to the 5 page sheet of Bob Ross encouraging words, and my own Kick-in-the-Pants suggestions (and if you're lost, it'll make sense when you watch the video), I was able to - mid way through (minute 41 to be exact!) - get back on track and keep going until this ridiculously fun art journal page was created!! PHEW!! THANK GOD! lol!
Don't believe that I almost can't finish this?? And that I'm totally mortified? I kept all of that on the video so you can see THAT I STRUGGLE TOO!!! And oh man, did I struggle. And laugh!!! But yeah, struggled.
Hope you get lots and lots of great takeaways from today's lesson, but mostly I hope you take away that we are all students, it's okay to laugh at your own struggles and that it's important to give yourself permission to mess up and HAVE FUN! Like I did!!
Press Play below to get your weekly dose of inspiration and FUN!!!
I'm giving you my best 10 tips on Color, Composition and art journaling techniques today!!! That's my little way of wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day today❤️
Chocolate isn't awesome for our waistline and flowers will wilt and die but Art Journaling and Mixed Media techniques?? Those are things that will never get old or die!! AND they'll make the time you spend at your art table or easel effortless and downright FUN! Happy Valentine's Day indeed my friend😘
The BEST part about what I'm teaching you today is that there is so much you can do without have ANY art experience whatsoever!!
I think for a lot of people, color schemes are really challenging. Today I share with you super easy ways to figure out your color scheme...tricks that I hope help you with your art schemes for years to come!
I also share my tips on how to figure out your layout or composition!! It's so much easier than you'd think!
Wishing you had a cheatsheet to keep track of all these tips and tricks? Well I got you there too! Just let me know in the comments section if you'd like one and I'll drop you the link to download it!
This week's video is a doozy!! I will also be sharing with you some SUPER EASY ways to make marks with tools that you can buy OR make yourself (and yes, I will show you that too!).
Remember: Art journals are safe spaces. They are your visual diary! You don't have to share them ANYONE if you don't want to. This video will help you get past the backgrounds and onto some fun and simple things that you can do NEXT. Again, no skills required.
Art journals don't have to be filled with your best talents (although they certainly can!). But they can most definitely (and SHOULD BE) filled with images and text and colors that inspire and comfort you. Let me help make it super easy for you!! Nothing should get in the way of you making an incredibly special journal. Press the play button below and let's get started. I got you.
"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
- Elizabeth W.
What Fans Are Saying
Karen, you are absolutely fabulous! You make me feel like I can draw anything. I have recently retired and finally have the time to do some of the art that I have loved since I was in school. I am really at the beginning of my art journey and I hope to learn as much as I can. Thank you for all you do.