Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
Mixed media paper is something I get asked about ALL THE TIME by my students! As mixed media artists, we need super strong paper that isn't gonna buckle no matter how many wet, messy mixed media art supplies we throw at it. If you're a mixed media beginner or a seasoned artist looking for answers that won't break the bank, today's video is for you!
Mixed media art supplies can get overwhelming FAST because there are so many to choose from. I've created a FREE 9-page Supplies Guide to explain which mixed media art supplies I love most AND how they perform so you know what to expect right from the start.
Simply click the button below, and I'll send it right over.
Once you understand your supplies a bit better, mixed media art will become SO much more FUN! If you need help with layering check out my signature Hamburger System. When you're in the mood to work with fewer supplies, check out the Hot Dog System!
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.
When it comes to mixed media projects you want to complete on paper, my advice is to simply use watercolor paper EVERY time.
Are you surprised by my answer?!
People usually are. I know there are a zillion papers sold by amazing brands labeled "Mixed Media Paper," but trust me. I've tried them all, and nothing holds water soluble products, watercolors, fountain pen inks, acrylic paints, mod podge, and even collage- like watercolor paper!
Take a look...
See the vintage postcard collage materials above? I glued these all down with matte medium in my Strathmore Watercolor Journal, and did a full on, 7 layer mixed media project on top of it - "Hamburger Style" (see below). This page was FULL of matte medium, gesso, mod podge and acrylic paint!
If you're new to me and my work, I do mixed media art projects on anything and everything. Typically if I'm not working on canvas, I'll do projects in my Strathmore Watercolor Art Journal (above), or on loose sheets of watercolor paper.
To keep things simple, I'm teaching you about 3 main kinds of watercolor paper today:
While rough cut watercolor paper can be super fun, keep in mind, your watercolors aren't going to work exactly the same as they would on cold or hot press paper. It's just different. Here's one of my rough cut watercolor art journals:
What about cost? You'll notice when you visit your favorite craft store that there's super cheap watercolor paper and crazy expensive watercolor paper.
What's the difference?!
When it comes to the cost of watercolor paper, the biggest factor connected with expensive watercolor paper is the percentage of cotton used to create the paper. The higher the percentage, the higher the price.
Arches is one of the most expensive watercolor papers because it's made up of 100% pure cotton. You can find the cotton percentage of paper on the cover (yellow arrow above). This type of paper typically comes in "blocks," so the paper stays nice and firm, and does not buckle.
If you find a watercolor paper without the cotton percentage noted, you're likely in the right place, and your cost will be significantly cheaper. I love using Canson watercolor paper for doing practice work. It's much more reasonable than Arches.
The second cost factor to watch for when you're buying watercolor paper for mixed media projects is the paper's weight.
At a minimum, I recommend using 140lb. paper, especially if you're doing mixed media work on top and not just watercoloring. Don't use the 90lb. paper because it's just not gonna hold up.
The watercolor paper I typically use now is by Fabriano. It's 25% cotton (and 75% cheaper than the Arches brand!), plus it comes in either hot press (smooth) or cold press (textured). This is a very high quality paper. You can work on this and it will be museum quality, is great if you want to sell or gift your work.
HOT TIP: You DON'T have to put gesso on top of watercolor paper to prime it for acrylic paints - just start painting!
Gesso is well-known in the world of mixed media art as a primer for acrylics, but when you're working on watercolor paper for mixed media projects, it's not needed, so save your money and skip the gesso!
I hope you found this info helpful! Be sure to click over to the video, so you know what to look for next time you head to the craft store on the hunt for mixed media paper for your own masterpieces!
I have been IN LOVE with my black stabilo for YEARS!! After last week's review of water soluble pencils in color, I decided I should probably put my black stabilo all pencil to the test to make sure it still deserves to be my go-to for mixed media drawing!! Join me over on YouTube to see what I found out!!
Before we continue, super quick announcement! All product links noted below 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 only reccommend products I actually use and love. Thank you for your support!
It's NO secret that I love my black stabilo all pencil (waaaay cheaper by the dozen, by the way). I've been using this water soluble pencil FOREVER. I tested it against other water soluble pencils years ago and have been using it faithfully ever since.
The girl on the right (below) is one of my countless stabilo girls!
I loved the chick on the right SO much that I put her on the cover of my How to Draw & Find Your Style Book!
Just to be sure I'm not missing out on anything from another brand, let's put my stabilo to the test.
I gathered 7 water soluble pencils and am looking not only for water solubility, but for richness in pigment- something magical I LOVE about my stabilo all.
Products I'm testing today in black include:
After I write down the name of each product and scribble a little square off to the side, I activate each line with some clean water and a watercolor brush.
Be sure to click over to the video to see this in action!
Look at that first line - stabilo NEVER lets me down! You can barely see my writing because there is so much black pigment pooling. YES!!
I'm also loving the results of the Faber Castell Albrecht Durer as well. Look at this rich, yummy goodness (third line above).
As I do this test, I'm reminded of something I noticed when I did this years ago. Some of these brands seem to have a touch of color in them, or don't feel like they're jet black once activated with water.
I'm seeing some faint green in the Aquarell (first line below) and a little blue in my black Derwent watercolor pencil (fourth line below).
After I dry my paper with the hairdryer, I attempt to reactivate each line to see what happens... and which products I want to recommend for projects using my "Hamburger System."
If you're not sure what I'm talking about, the art supply layering system I often use for my mixed media art projects is something I lovingly refer to as my mixed media "Hamburger System." I compare layering my supplies to the way you layer toppings for the perfect burger!
I've actually got an entire FUN YouTube series of tutorials, cheatsheets, and even wrote a mixed media art BOOK about it!! Download the FREE, one-page cheatsheet that explains it all by clicking the button below.
I'll send it straight to your inbox so you can print it and keep it at your art table for reference to help you with your own mixed media layering.
Check out today's video to find out which of these water soluble pencils I recommend using and WHY!!
Thanks for hanging out with me today!!
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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 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?
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!
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...
If you're just learning how to draw eyelashes, or if drawing eyelashes is something you feel you want to improve upon, you need my free HOW to DRAW EYELASHES Cheatsheet.
Simply click the button below, and I'll send it straight to your inbox!
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.
One of the first things to keep in mind when you're drawing eyelashes, is directionality. I think of eyelashes like parentheses, and curve my outtermost eyelash on either side accordingly.
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!
Did you grab your FREE How to Draw Eyelashes Cheatsheet yet? Make sure you click on that link, and I'll send it straight to your inbox. It's SUCH a helpful reference to keep on your art table.
Now... how do you put all take this amazing-ness into action for your MIXED MEDIA PORTRAITS?!
I'm so glad you asked!! Let me introduce you to my secret weapon!!
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.
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!
If you're struggling to control the pentel pocket brush, use a black pitt pen marker in a brush nib that feels more secure for you.
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.
Come on over to YouTube and practice your eyelash drawing with me!!
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!!
💜Product Links listed may be affiliate. I only link to products that I have personally used and tested and love! I may receive a few pennies if you purchase through these links, but no worries, there is never any cost to the consumer for doing so!
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!!
"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.