I LOVE creating mixed media collage backgrounds using vintage book pages! They're EASY to create, and SUPER CHEAP because you can upcycle old books from your local thrift shop for next to nothing. Today’s video is another FULL LENGTH project, so if you love collage mixed media art & mixed media tutorials - this is for YOU!
What inspires you with creative ideas for your art projects? I'm often inspired by objects in my environment!
Today's project all got started with a glance at my 1950s record player that hangs out in the corner next to my studio. See it there to the right over my shoulder?
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From the record player, my thoughts wandered to my collection of vintage books reserved for collaging mixed media backgrounds!
I totally LOVE thrift store shopping and digging around in used book stores in search of vintage dictionaries, old ledgers, magazines, books of sheet music, and books written in different languages! I find these pages look AMAZING in the background of my mixed media art - just peeking through whatever I paint or draw on top!!
When you're looking through this stuff for your own collage art - just bring home the ones that have pages with a super matte finish. These are the BEST for collage. The pages in these old books are super fragile and easy to rip. They're also really porous, which means they're gonna soak up whatever adhesive you want to throw at them!
Some people might be horrified by me tearing up old book pages, but I don't feel bad because I'm breathing NEW LIFE into them by collaging art backgrounds! Plus, I only upcycle books and magazines that are in really bad shape- without a cover, with missing pages- stuff that is mostly garbage to other people.
Your supplies for today's mixed media project are all pictured above. I'm working on wood canvas because I LOVE a hard surface when I'm doing collage art. A regular canvas has some "spring" to it, and that's not what I need here - I need a stable, sturdy surface that I don't have to be precious with.
I've also got my liquitex matte medium, my distress stains, stamps, a vintage magazine to upcycle as my collage paper, and my How to Draw Art Deco Style books out because I need a little more inspiration and direction regarding where I want this project to go!
I'm feeling the need for something sparkly, but don't know what it is yet, so plan to flip through the section on sketching jewelry.
Before I do that, I rip some chunks out of my vintage magazine. I feel like the sections with images are going to be too distracting, so steer clear of those parts. I also love using the CORNERS of these pages because then I have some nice hard lines to line up along the edges of my wood canvas.
Make sure you're using tons of matte medium under and on top of the chunks you're gluing down. If you don't use an "uncomfortable amount of product," this is how bubbles and wrinkles appear in your collage. Sometimes that effect is fun, and it's a personal preference too. Some people love that look, others don't. Using lots of adhesive under and over the collage paper is just one of MY TRICKS to keep the background as smooth and wrinkle free as possible while still showing a bit of texture.
Wondering WHY I'm using matte medium instead of mod podge? TONS of students ask me this all the time, so if you're new to me be sure to check this reference out!!
If I don't have a clear plan as to where a project is going (which I totally don't right now!!), I reach for matte medium as my adhesive because it's strong and specifically formulated to work with acrylic paint. Since I often paint with acrylics over my collage backgrounds, matte medium is my go to.
As I continue getting my collage layer together, I begin thinking I might like doing some painting with fountain pen inks on top. Since these perform much like watercolor, I decide to pull out my absorbent ground to add a thin coat of this in the center of my collage. Absorbent ground preps any surface that isn't watercolor paper to accept watercolor or fountain pen inks. It's SO magical!!
If you're not in the mood for watercolor or inks [SPOILER - OR if you watched the video already and saw I didn't actually end up using watercolor OR inks!!] - skip the absorbent ground and grab your gesso instead.
All we want to do is add a thin layer of white to the center of our collage so we kick all those words into the background. We still want to be able to see them, so if you're following along, keep your layer transparent. You just want to be able to work ON TOP of the words and bring whatever becomes your subject into the foreground.
Once I'm finished adding a thin layer of absorbent ground to my wood canvas, I use my hair dryer to get the area completely dry. Next, I move on to the stamp portion of the project because I'm in the mood to add a quote!!
While I'm thinking about sparkle, I suddenly get the idea to add ACTUAL BLING to my project, and feel as if I'm 5 years old again. LOL!
I taught kids FOREVER and have a TON of leftover supplies like these craft gems, pictured below. Some of them have adhesive backs. The big ones need a glue gun. I have THE BEST TIME sifting through the gems and working out a color scheme in my mind. In no time, I'm on a roll, and moving on...
By the way, if you haven't thought of this already, this is THE PERFECT ART PROJECT to do with a daughter or GRANDDAUGHTER!! Can't you just see her eyes lighting up as she hunts for the perfect gem for her canvas?!
I LOVE IT!!
After I stamp out the bulk of my text, I play around positioning my main gem, then start drawing in a winding chain so it looks like the necklace is casually lying on my wood canvas.
Then I pencil in the main word from my quote... SPARKLE, and add even more tiny craft gems along my chain for added interest.
You can use whatever you want to add detail in the chain and to the words of your quote. Paint pens and pitt pens would be great!
I end up falling in love with the look of a gold paint pen and keep that up throughout my piece for chain detail and to highlight the main word of my quote.
How CUTE is that?!
I used my distress ink stamp pads along the edges and borders to give the piece a bit more of a vintage-y feel and think it adds a fun frame.
My finishing touch is to run my blending stump under the chain line of the necklace to give it a little shadow and depth.
So love it, and so know exactly who I'm giving this to!!
I hope you have as much fun doing this project as I did!! Be sure to share your work in our Facebook Group. I'd LOVE to see what you created!!
Thanks for watching!! See ya next week!!!
Drawing eyelashes on mixed media portraits can feel super intimidating because it's probably one of the LAST things you add to your masterpiece! So many of my students ask how to paint eyelashes that look realistic and just what paintbrush or supplies work the best, because they know I've tested them ALL!! Before I demo my secret weapon, we need to talk for a hot minute about how to draw eyelashes step by step...
The first thing to keep in mind when drawing eyelashes is DIRECTIONALITY. As you can see in my sketch below, I start by drawing a set of parentheses on the outer edges of both the top and bottom eyelids.
The midpoint of your eye drawing is where the directionality of your individual eyelash lines will change. That midpoint lash will basically be a straight line, followed by consecutive lashes flicking out in opposite directions, like you can see below.
Once you fill your lashes in on the top lid, repeat the process you followed for the lash line on the bottom eyelid. The second important part of drawing GORGEOUS eyelashes has to do with the amount of pressure you apply with your pencil (or whatever you're drawing with!).
You begin each lash line with MORE pressure, then flick up and out according to whatever directionality each eyelash needs to go. Confused yet?! WATCH the VIDEO ;) It makes WAY more sense when you see it in action....
Once you have all the eyelashes drawn in for the top and bottom eyelids, it's time to take a second pass across each lid line, because as humans - we have TONS of eyelashes! And let's be real...you want the girl you're drawing to have fab lashes, right?! Let's glam her up!!
While you're adding in a second set of lashes on each lid line, be sure to vary the length of each line. This is how our eyelashes are in real life. If you look closely - they're all different lengths. Paying attention to that little detail will make the eyelashes you draw look even more realistic!
How do you put all this amazing-ness into action for your MIXED MEDIA PORTRAITS?!
I'm so glad you asked!! Let me show you my secret weapon!!
I'm in LOVE with the pentel pocket brush pen. Here's why...
First of all, I love this pen because it contains permanent ink. This is extremely important to me in mixed media work because I have lots of layering going on with sealants, etc. I NEED my ink at this point to be permanent. If I want to add a final sealant over the pretty eyelashes I've just drawn, I KNOW the ink I just laid down with the pentel pocket brush pen isn't going anywhere!
One of the cool things about this pen is the tip of it is actually like a very fine brush. That means it applies like a paintbrush! Lastly - it's just a beautifully crafted pen!!
I will give you a tiny warning about this pen though... it's super sensitive, and honestly takes a bit of practice to get a feel for it at first. You'll want to play around with it in your sketchbook before using it right out of the box on your latest mixed media canvas! Just draw a bunch of practice eyes in your sketchbook and see what kind of pressure and look you like best!
After today's little eyelash lesson, I'll take you straight over to put this into practice on one of my mixed media hamburger system girls! This particular piece is from a couple of years ago- before I discovered my fav little pocket brush. Watch as I add these lashes in real time - using directionality, pressure, and varying my lash lengths. This cute little pen is also awesome for touching up eyebrows for a little added drama. So Fun!!
Come on over to YouTube and practice your eyelash drawing with me!!
If you need a copy of the Eyelashes Cheatsheet, just scroll down and request one in the comments of today's video. If you're a member of either the Fun Fab Drawing Club or Mixed Media Society (YAY!! I'm so happy you're here!!!), the Eyelashes Cheatsheet is already in your membership guide!!
I hope today's free drawing lesson helps you create mixed media lashes you are PROUD OF!! See ya next week ;)
This project is SO FUN!!
If you were with me on YouTube the last couples of weeks - this project is similar - another decoupage / collage project, AND it's easy enough to share with an artsy little one in your life if you want to - OR to gift to that special little one for his/her bedroom walls (if you can bear to part with him!!).
SUPPLY LIST for THIS no draw Mixed Media Collage PROJECT:
Once you've gathered your supplies, CLICK HERE to meet me on YouTube for this mixed media tutorial!
The first thing we're gonna do is cover your entire art journal page or mixed media canvas with two complete layers of acrylic paint! I know you'll probably think one layer should do it- but trust me ;) I've got you!
Apply one juicy coat of acrylic horizontally, dry it, then apply a second juicy coat of acrylic vertically. This will ensure you've covered every inch of your canvas, so when it dries- no teensy white space will be poking through!
While you're waiting for the second layer of background paint to dry, let's move on to your puppy!
Grab you sheet of transfer paper and one of your sheets of scrapbooking paper. Lay the scrapbook paper face down, then lay your transfer paper face down on top of that. Finally, stick your puppy template printout on top. Finally, just trace the outlines of the puppy FACE and BODY from the template with a sharp pen or pencil and the design will totally transfer onto the back of your scrapbook paper!
It's EXTRA cute if you trace the puppy ear and/or tail onto your second sheet of scrapbook paper ;) Or - use a different sheet of scrapbook paper for each body part!! That would be adorable too - do whatever YOU think will be cutest!!
When all of the body parts have been outlined and transferred to scrapbook paper, simply cut the pieces. If you have a favorite punch - use that to cut out some additional scrapbook paper decorations in the background. Then it's time for mod podge!!
Slather a thick layer of mod podge where you want your puppy to sit on the canvas and set him down gently. Next cover him on top with a thick layer of mod podge, and just keep going- allllll over your canvas! Even if you're using matte mod podge- there will be the teeniest bit of sheen in the areas of your canvas WITH mod podge- so just cover the entire canvas at this point so everything looks uniform.
As you're slathering that top layer of mod podge... lay down the puppy ear (and tail if you chose to cut that out separately) and any background decorations you may have punched out (in my case- they're flowers). Be sure to fling that puppy's cute little ear in whatever direction you want to add a little extra personality to your piece!! Remember to layer even MORE mod podge on top of the ear and background decorations so everything has mod podge under AND on top of it. The more mod podge you use, the fewer wrinkles you'll have in any of the scrapbook paper you lay down.
Once you have your mod podge over the top of your entire piece, hit it with the hair dryer (if you have zero patience like me!!) LOL!!! Then go ahead and add a button eye, nose, and center to your flowers (if you added those to the background). A dab of hot glue works great to glue those buttons down.
Isn't he SOOOO CUTE?!!!
I hope you have as much FUN making him as I did!!!
See ya next week ;)
Scrapbook paper backgrounds are my GO TO for the mixed media art I create on canvas or in my art journal! Before I get into WHY - I want to show you some of the effects you can achieve with various types of collage material - in case you're new to the world of collage or creating mixed media backgrounds!
In the pic below you'll see a closeup view of one of my favorite mixed media collage projects from my book, Mixed Media Magic. See the wrinkly, raised bumps of texture? That happens when you collage with NAPKINS in your bottom layer!
Some people LOVE this kind of texture in their art (I'm one of them!!). From a distance, the texture in the background is very prominent. You can see the wrinkles and bumps from my napkin pieces. This is a look I was going for on purpose in this particular painting.
Some people aren't into this bumpy goodness, and that's ok! YOU do YOU!!!! In case you're one of them... here's what collaging with TISSUE PAPER can do in your mixed media art backgrounds!!
See the typewriter words smack dab in the middle of her face? That is a ripped piece of tissue paper! Tissue paper will give you a transparent effect in your collage, which I also LOVE!!! You can definitely see there are some bumps and wrinkles up close, but it's more chill than using napkins like I did in the previous piece. From a distance, the tissue paper texture is VERY understated...
The next example I'm going to show you is a piece I started with a collage layer of torn scrapbook paper pieces!
Look closely at the background of this mixed media girl painting. You'll see there are 3-4 sheets of scrapbooking paper that were collaged into my first layer of this canvas. I like to rip palm sized chunks from papers that have the same color scheme going on. It's SO easy to find matching colors with an assortment of patterns because ALL the craft stores sell these giant books of gorgeous sheets with repeating color schemes that are totally designed to be used together!
Personally, this is my FAVORITE collage material because you really DON'T get any wrinkles at all! This type of collage creates a smooth surface that is PERFECT to paint on. That doesn't mean it will create a "boring," or texture-less background.
Take a look at this painting close-up! As you can see below... there are pretty subtle, raised edges from each chunk of scrapbook paper I used. And I have to say, I'm OBSESSED with this look!! I really feel like it adds a layer of sophistication to my art. You can achieve some VERY rich, complex backgrounds that really pull your eye around the piece as a whole, and make it interesting to look at- both from a distance, and up close!!
In today's mixed media tutorial, I've got a FULL-LENGTH, FREE art lesson for you!! I'm showing you my EXACT mixed media collage process using scrapbook paper so you can play right along with me at home.
I find this process works amazing on canvas boards, wood panels, or as an art journal page or spread. It's a little harder to do on pre-stretched canvas because the middle of a pre-stretched canvas isn't super sturdy, so you have to be a bit more gentle.
When you do collage work, you add a lot of pressure to whatever surface you're working on, and I don't want to be precious about anything- so I reach for something like a canvas panel, because it's more substantial (AND they are super cheap!!).
Here is your supply list for today's project:
Go grab your supplies and meet me over on YouTube to get crafting with me!!!!
CLICK HERE or press the play button below when you're ready to start!!
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Last week my good friend, Kristin Van Valkenburgh and I swapped backgrounds and challenged each other to create foregrounds on top!! Here is the background that I made for her...
It is sooooooooo easy!! Just grab your favorite spray paints and some stencils and you're good to go!!!
And she made a gorgeous background for me as well!! Well this week we each had the challenge to create some magical on top!!! This was for sure a challenge! I did a test on the background she sent me and I THOUGHT it was permanent. So I proceeded to slap on some ink but then discovered quite quickly that the background was, very much, totally water-soluble!! If you're new to mixed media you may not know that water-soluble means that when you add any liquid (in this case, inks), that underneath layer is sure gonna move!!! And move it did!!!
I've learned long ago that mixed media art is more or less a matter of problem solving and so that's what this project became! Watch here to see how I was able to overcome the watercolors mixing in with my inks on top! If you could learn from my trials and errors, than it's a double win!
Plus you get to see the little added bonus character that showed up along side my magical watercolor mermaid!!
After you're done watching this video you should DEFINITELY go and check out Kristin's video!!! You would not believe the ADORABLE little creature that showed up on her canvas!! Omgeeee!!! Here's a tiny sneak peek!!! Isn't it the cutest?! The craziest part is that I challenged Kristin to incorporate something sparkly into her project. She ended up having these little hexagonal mirror stick on thingies that were the EXACT same size as the chicken wire fence stencil I used to create my background. Say whaaaa?!! are the chances of her having those...on hand??
I still can't believe it!!
At the end of the day, the most special aspect of this collaboration was that we both inspired in each other, a new sense of curiosity (what do I do with this???), creativity (I have these mirrory thingies!!), and friendship (that was sooo fun, let's play again!!).
So while we are still in a period of uncertainty and COVID-19 strangeness, we were able to create a connection from the comfort and complete safety of our homes, even though they are 3,000 miles apart! If you are in a fun Facebook Group (and if not, come join mine!! www.facebook.com/groups/awesomeartschool) and can "meet up" with some others, virtually, maybe you can suggest a collaboration just like this one!!
It's a great way to spark YOUR creativity and make a friend! What a beautiful way to spend a day. ❤️
My super creative student and friend, Karina Aguirre, sent me this super cool background that she made from acrylic pouring. That's when you intentionally ooze a liquid acrylic mixture down over a flat surface and let it do it's magic!! It creates all these cool designs and textures over the surface, designs that would never be possible with a paintbrush or any other tool! She sent me two designs. Isn't this so cool??
I haven't had time to play or do anything spontaneous and fun for FOREVER so I was SO EXCITED that last week I finally found time to do just that. I found this adorable cat sketch on Pinterest and the rest is history!! I ended up making this super cute mixed media cat in just a few minutes!! The best part is that it only called for a hand-full of supplies: just Gesso, a Stabilo All pencil, some Mod Podge, Pitt Pens and then DONE! Click the play button to watch the whole kaboodle!
Today is Friday which means NEW FREE YouTube lesson!!
This project was particularly satisfying for sooooo many reasons! Well, I'll just list them off so you know what they are! First all, I got to paint with my fountain pen inks. They are soooooo vibrant and juicy and satisfying (due to their vibrancy and juiciness) that I cannot even compare them to any other medium I love them so much! This is the one I use for skin color. It's DIVINE!
I can now draw hands after publishing a book on them! I can finally dive into any project that involves them and has truly opened up a whole new world of faces and characters now that I'm no longer afraid to tackle any drawing!
I spill 3 oz. of permanent ink all over my studio floor. There's nothing quite like an explosion of ink to liven things up in the old art room!
Glasses. Having the guts and courage to draw OVER and ON TOP OF a completely painted girl, is, well, TERRIFYING! But then the level of proud you feel when you actually pull it off is the BEST FEELING EVER!! So while it's scary, it's worth it!!! So my advice to you is to simply GO FOR IT.
The references I used today are so super cute!! The original reference photo was taken from Vogue Japan and I just fell in love with it when I saw it!!!
Another reason today's project was so fun was because of my little feline side-kick!! Oh Tippie!!!
So after the spill and the cat play and the juicy brushes filled with ink I was just delighted at the final outcome. Click on the video here to watch how YOU can learn how to paint glasses on YOUR mixed media girls!!
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!!!
We’ve all got at least one page in an art journal that we’re not in love with.
In today’s mixed media tutorial, I’ll show you just how EASY it is to collage, draw, and paint your way to something new, like a mysterious mistress!
I covered up an old teaching page in my journal with a layer of collage, using tattered pages from a tiny, old book I found in a Scottish thrift shop last August. They’re thin and adhere beautifully to the paper in my art journal with matte medium.
This particular journal is hardcover made by Strathmore and is a favorite of mine for mixed media projects because the paper is amazing! Since it is strong enough for watercolor, it lends itself well to mixed media art journaling. This paper has literally rocked any mixed media art supply I’ve thrown at it so far.
I started my mysterious mixed media girl by sketching a female face over my collage layer with a Blackwing pencil (like butter if you haven’t tried them). I decided to reserve my acrylic paint for the lips, eyes, and hat because I didn’t want to completely cover up my collage papers.
Click the play button below to see the whole process unfold in the short, entertaining timelapse tutorial set to swing music...Mysterious Mistress indeed!
I outlined the face using my black stabilo all pencil. If you haven’t tried it before, press play for a quick art supply demo to watch one of my favorite mixed media drawing techniques in action.
When the pencil lines are activated with mod podge, they darken, smear, and spread to naturally add shading and depth.
You made it to the Hamburger Series Finale! I’m assuming you know what that means by now 😂 😂 😂
I know, it MAY have felt like we were done last week. We already sealed the beautifully detailed pitt pen doodling layer with mod podge.
That should be it right? Not quite…
You know I’m a HUGE mod podge fan, but as the final layer in mixed media painting on paper, canvas, or wood… this isn’t gonna seal the deal.
In today’s video, I’ll demo not one, but NINE artist vs. craft grade varnishes to show you which ones will do the trick, and which ones will last a lifetime when you are ready to protect all the layers of your mixed media your finished masterpieces.
One amazing product will EVEN make your artwork look more vibrant than it already does (I know - I didn’t think that was possible either!).
This same product (hint: by Liquitex), EVEN got me to fall in love with a gloss finish, when I’m typically a matte girl. Just check out this project, soooooooo smooth and shiny with it's final coat on!
In today's video we will try out 5 products you can pour and brush on, and 4 that come as spray varnish.
I’ll teach you how to apply varnish to protect your art journal pages to keep them from sticking together, and how to varnish a painting, when it's done.
Which varnishes are stinky? Which one takes forever to dry? Which one is JUST right?
Watch the video and find out!