Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
Today's mixed media on canvas is a hilarious mashup of a grumpy cat and a flower- done in my signature "Hamburger" style. There's a little bit of everything from mixed media collage using paper napkins, to mixed media drawing & acrylic painting. I had a blast! Having FUN with your art is the MOST important part! If you're having FUN, you'll create more often. The more you create - the BETTER you'll get!
If you've never done mashup art before, be sure to click over to the video to see exactly what I'm doing. It's actually REALLY easy. You just combine two or more reference images to come up with your own creation!
For my supplies, I used a tall canvas (around 12 x 36), some floral napkins for collaging with mod podge, and ALL my mixed media supply favorites from watersoluble pencils to acrylics, gelatos and pitt pens.
If you look closely at the collage portions of this piece- I was using floral napkins. The napkin pattern had a white background, so when I collaged it to my canvas, the flowers kinda melted into the background like they were always there. It was a really cool effect!
Check out this link to learn more about how to do wrinkle-free mixed media collage with paper napkins.
As you can see above, when I was ready to start drawing my grumpy flower cat, I used a watersoluble pencil. I think this is an awesome trick because once you start painting, your pencil lines totally melt away!
Once I got my acrylic layer down, I started adding in my gelatos (shown below) to blend in some shading with my finger and give my acrylics more dimension.
If you've never used gelatos before, they're AMAZING. I recently did a video on how to use gelatos in mixed mediat art, so be sure to check that out for my best tips.
Gelatos get added in layer 3 of my Mixed Media Hamburger System. If you're not familiar with my "hamburger system," - it's what I named my layering process when I'm doing mixed media and want to play with ALL of my art supplies!
The hamburger system is SUPER helpful for beginners and anyone else who wants to learn a little more about mixed media art supplies, when to use them & which supplies work well together.
Click the button below if you'd like to download my Mixed Media Hamburger cheatsheet (yup - it's totally FREE).
If you'd like to see me explain my hamburger system to you on my Mixed Media YouTube channel, be sure to click over to this playlist.
I hope you get a kick outta today's grumpy flower cat mashup! If this is something you'd like to do with me in real time (no timelapse), this is one of MANY fun projects over in the Mixed Media Society over at Awesome Art School. We'd LOVE to have you come hang out with us!!
❤️MY ARTIST BESTIE, LUCY BRYDON & I are creating a NEW ART MEMBERSHIP together called The Celtic Collective!! Learn More & add your name to the waitlist here. Opens in TWO DAYS on July 7th!
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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THE SECRET to WRINKLE FREE Mixed Media Collage Backgrounds with Paper Napkins!!
Happy Friday!! Mixed media collage backgrounds with paper napkins are EASY to create and can add a gorgeous pop of color to your mixed media art journal. Today’s video is a FULL LENGTH project, so if you love collage mixed media art & mixed media tutorials - this is for YOU!
I know what you’re thinking about collaging art journal backgrounds with napkins...those WRINKLES!!
Don’t worry - I've got collage techniques that will make your napkins BEHAVE so there is a little texture, and your collage background can PEEK through your mixed media portrait, without taking over your whole art journal page!
Grab your art journal, a beautiful paper napkin, TONS of liquitex matte medium, some gesso, a black stabilo all pencil & come play with me!!
Today I'm working in my favorite Strathmore watercolor journal. These thick, beautiful pages can take anything I throw at them, which today is gonna be a vat of liquitex matte medium!!
If you haven't used paper napkins to create an art journal background - you totally need to give it a try! There are so many beautiful patterns and colors out there! The possibilities are endless. A pretty napkin can also create a no-fail color scheme for your mixed media project if you intend to do a little painting, like I did. Just look to the colors you see in your napkin, find paint shades to match, and BOOM. Solid win!
Napkins can be a bit tricky to work with because they are SO fine. To make matters worse, we need to separate the plys EVEN MORE so we're only working with the ply that has the pattern. If you haven't done this before, just work your nail into the edges of the napkin like I show you in the video, and slowly pull the plies away from each other. Sometimes the pretty napkins are 3-ply, like mine is today. So just watch for this so you isolate only that thin sheet filled with the pattern you love.
When you're ready to glue this down into your journal, I suggest working with liquitex matte medium as your adhesive. I love this stuff because it's super fluid, and WAY LESS gloppy than mod podge for this type of work. Plus, matte medium was CREATED to work with acrylic paint. So if I decide to add a painting layer to this piece, my surface is already prepped and ready to go.
Some people like to try and glue down the whole napkin sheet at once, but I find it's easier to manage and I can control the wrinkles a bit better if I work with smaller sections of my napkin at a time. Your napkin sheet is going to be fragile, so gently tear chunks of it apart.
Now, here is my HUGE SECRET... you need a TON of matte medium to work out the wrinkles that will inevitably pop up while you're gluing. No matter how tiny your ripped pieces of napkin are- you're till gonna get wrinkles!
To combat this, I pour my matte medium directly onto my art journal page and use what many would think is an "uncomfortable amount" of product. If you don't have an uncomfortable amount of it on your page right now- dump some more.
Don't be precious about your matte medium - you want a TON of it both UNDER and OVER your napkin pieces, so they are sopping wet. Any areas that aren't soaking, go back and add more product to. This helps you get rid of any psycho wrinkles trying to creep up!
My SECOND TIP for you to create a wrinkle free surface has to do with your foam brush technique! If you just drag your foam brush around, it's going to be easier for your napkin pieces to tear. Try using a pouncing motion with your brush to tap the napkin chunk onto your paper. This tapping motion will help your under layer of matte medium rise up and soak into the napkin. Watch the video to see what I mean.
After you've pounced a napkin chunk into position, try to systematically smooth the wrinkles out on top. Going slowly will help you not rip the napkin. Trust me! You'll see I rammed through a couple of them too quickly and had to slow myself down. LOL!
As you work around your art journal page, and sections begin to dry - just add more matte medium to edges that try to pop up on you. This will knock them back down.
When I'm done gluing all my napkin pieces down, I use a hair dryer to dry the page instead of a heat gun, because a hair dryer won't get hot enough to ruin my work, and it's faster because of the "blower" part. A heat gun doesn't have that kind of air flow/power so takes longer. And if you know me- you know I'm in a hurry and don't have the patience to watch wet stuff dry!!
I decide to add gesso to the center area of my page because I want to draw a face on top. While the background pattern from my napkin is beautiful, it is too dark and busy to draw anything over. To dial that back a bit, I turn to my gesso.
I have 5 favorite ways I like using to apply gesso and demo them in today's video. My favorite gesso application method for under a face is just using a foam brush or my flat gesso brush. If I want more of an edgy look and want the texture to really pop forward from any wrinkles that do show up in my background, an old credit card is perfect to rake your gesso over the page with.
I also love to pounce the gesso down with a sponge wherever I want it. This is primarily the technique I ended up using today. Then I pulled out my brayer to spread the gesso out a bit further and to draw a little texture into the foreground.
After I hit this with the hair dryer once more, and everything is completely dry- it's time to do a little mixed media drawing! As you'll see in the video, I ALWAYS sketch in my face drawing guidelines. They're too important to skip and will set you up for success.
I start my sketch in regular pencil, then when I'm happy with my lines, switch over to my stabilo to darken my lines.
As you can see, my stabilo lines are actually fairly light. When I hit them with my paintbrush and some water- it's pretty magical, what happens. Look...
Isn't it amazing how easily the stabilo is to activate with water?! It literally melts as soon as my brush touches it, and can be spread around like watercolor. This is one of my FAVORITE mixed media techniques!!
I typically do my stabilo in 2 -3 layers for a drawing like this. After I activate the first layer, I let that dry, then add more dry stabilo marks wherever I feel like there needs to be a little more definition. Sometimes I activate that second layer of stabilo too - it just depends on the look I'm going for!
For the finishing touches, I use my favorite white paint pens- posca and sharpie, along with my pentel pocket brush. Look at how just a few lines of ink from the pocket brush and a couple of dotted white highlights in and around the eyes and on the nose really make her pop!
Look at how the texture of that napkin peaks through, up close! LOVE IT !
In the end, I decided to add some of my Noodler's Ink around the edges in the background to tie into the florals of the napkin together, and I'm LOVING how that looks!!! So fun!
I hope you enjoy this mixed media tutorial / art journal project!!
Thanks for watching!! Stay tuned for Monday's Whimsical Women of the World Portrait Drawing prompt!!
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 ;)
Founder of Awesome Art School. Mixed Media Artist. Author of 18 Instructional Art Books!
"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!"
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