Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
QUICK & EASY! Mixed Media Portrait in Stabilo All Pencil, Pan Pastels & Paint Pens ["Hot Dog" Style]
Creating mixed media portraits is one of my FAVORITE things to do! When I don't have a ton of time to art, I'll use my quick Hot Dog System to layer just FOUR mixed media art supplies.
I asked 20 of my artsy friends about the simple mixed media art supply combos THEY love and have TONS of FUN ideas to share with you in a FREE 32-page PDF (you're welcome!). This packet contains our BEST, tried and true, 4 art supply combos- "HOT DOG" style.
Click the button below to download this FREE 32-page stack of ideas just filled with Hot Dog System inspiration!
Today I'm testing a new-to-me mixed media art supply combo recommended by one of my artsy friends, Alexa. Straight outta the Hot Dog Packet on page 3 - we're combining my beloved stabilo all pencil with pan pastels and paint pens on cardboard. If you're a beginner in the world of mixed media art, or just curious about these tried and true art supply combos - today's video (and FREE 32-Page Packet ) are FOR YOU!!
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.
Today's combination of mixed media art supplies comes from page 3 of the Hot Dog Packet, and is a recommendation by artist, Alexa Ali Doebler.
She's suggested we create on cardboard. Feel free to use the back of a cereal box, an Amazon box, whatever. You can also just as easily do this project in an art journal (preferrably one filled with watercolor paper because we'll be activating a water soluble pencil with water). It's up to you!
I'm using cardboard like Alexa suggested. To get this party started, I'm covering my cardboard "canvas" with some swaths of white gesso (skip this step if you're working in a watercolor sketchbook or journal).
As you'll see in the video, I'm using a cheap foam brush to apply it. These are amazing for SO many applications and can easily be washed out and reused for a long time.
Typically gesso is used as a primer for acrylic paint, and absorbent ground is the primer for watercolor and water soluble products. However, because I know the Stabilo All Pencil in Black SO well as a product, I know it will perform beautifully when layered over white gesso.
To draw in the face for today's mixed media portrait, I'm sketching her in with my mechanical pencil first. I find this super helpful because I can erase if I need to. If you don't have an eraser you love, this one is my favorite.
Today's sketch is quick and dirty because I'm more into trying out the art supply combo and seeing how the layers work together, than making the drawing my life's work!
I know her neck is totally wonky, but I'm just letting it be since I'm in a hurry. Try to ignore that for now, LOL.
To activate the stabilo, I'm using my favorite watercolor brushes by Polina Bright (check out this video for a full product review of them!). If you'd like to get a set for yourself, Polina has extended a coupon code to my followers for 10% off if you enter my full name in caps (KARENCAMPBELL) at checkout on her website or in her Etsy shop.
Something to remember about the stabilo is that is WON'T stop activating. Some of my students LOVE this... and some HATE it. I love that feature, but I just want you to be prepared for how it will behave before you try working with it if it's a new art supply to you.
Now it's time for pan pastels. I'm still SUCH a newbie with these- but that's ok! I'm ready to learn!
There's a cute little pan pastels applicator that looks like it fell out of an eye shadow compact. This will help you dab color on wherever you want it, and do some blending.
I spent a little time playing with the pastels - incorporating shading into the face and hair to add dimension. At this point in the project, I was also just experimenting with what the pan pastels were capable of and how they worked. They're actually really fun!
Then it was time to bust out the paint pens. I'm just using whatever is hanging out on my art table. I've got a white sharpie paint pen and dabbed on a few highlights with that, then added some outlining and scribbles with my black posca paint pen. Simple, fun and done!
I hope you enjoy this quick mixed media portrait tutorial! Have fun experimenting with your art supplies, and make sure you post your version in the Facebook Group if you do the project too!
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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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!!
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