Saturday, September 22, 2007

Writing on crayon/colored pencil backgrounds

A quick update on my previous post: I made up a sample of the crayon and colored pencil background on a scrap piece of cardstock so that I could see what pens would write on it. I don't have a wide variety of pens at my disposal (well, not yet, anyways), but I tried what I have and use most of the time, which are Pitt pens and Sharpies.

Pitt pens:
superfine tip -- left barely any ink, and instead scratched into the layers down to the crayon (Of course, this would be kind of cool for making interesting marks in the background, though it'd probably be better to just use a scratching tool so as not to ruin the pen.)

fine tip -- sort of scratched the surface a bit and left ink in some areas of the letters, but not enough to read the writing

medium tip -- didn't scratch the surface, but also didn't leave enough ink to make it very readable

brush tip -- didn't scratch at all and left a very nice, clear mark

Sharpie pens:
ultra fine tip -- slightly scratched the surface and left just enough ink to read, but not easily

fine tip -- no scratching and left a decent mark, but it's not a smooth, clear line

As you can see, the broader the tip, the better. Only drawback is that they will smear if not left to dry for a bit. I first checked after about 10 minutes and they smeared, so I did another sample and waited about 30-40 minutes and they were fine. The difference between the Pitt brush and the fine Sharpie is that the Pitt pen leaves a nice dark mark, but the Sharpie looks a bit like the pen is starting to run out of ink. However, it is still readable, so it can depend on what look you're going for. Here's a close-up so hopefully you can see what I mean (sorry for the bit of glare):Let me know if you try this and find any other pens that work on this type of background. Have fun!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Crayon/Colored Pencil background

As I mentioned in Wednesday's post, Nance had an interesting background technique in her archives (specifically this one) that I wanted to try, but wasn't sure about whether it could be written over. So I left her a comment asking her and she said she hasn't done it in awhile, but thinks she remembers being able to at least use a Pitt brush pen on it ... she's going to try it and get back to me, but in the meantime, I just had to try it anyway LOL! I'll worry about writing on it later ....

After gluing down the images, I got in touch with my kindergarten self and raided the girls' crayon box (shhh!). The first picture shows the background all colored with a yellow-green crayon (notice the border left around the woman ... we'll get to that later). Then I took a peacock blue Prismacolor pencil and colored over the crayon ... you can see the difference it makes in the second picture. Ooh, pretty!! Then I went back over it with another Prismacolor pencil (chartreuse this time), which didn't change it too much, but gave it a little something ... not sure how to describe it ... highlights? It was a very subtle change. Now I'm wondering what would happen if I chose a totally different color for the third layer ... well, there's always next time.

Now we get back to that border around the woman ... I colored it with a pink crayon, then went over it with a pink colored pencil to smooth it out. You can see the final product in the third picture ... what do you think? I love the pencil strokes ... you could get really creative and color it this way and that for different effects. My 9yo really likes this one, says it looks like hair LOL!

I definitely will try this technique again ... it's a very relaxing technique, just coloring with pretty crayons and pencils and not much stressful thinking involved. And if it can't be written on, that's okay ... there's always magazine words and letters that can be glued. Let me know if you try it ... I wanna see!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I dream of doing art all day every day

Finished this page this morning. The theme at Blissfully_Art_Journaling this week (#30) is "stripes of life", and we're supposed to tear random strips of magazine pages and do something with them. Well, I didn't do it randomly ... instead, I found this neat pic of a tree with someone hugging it from behind and I cut it into strips horizontally, spread them out on the page, and journaled on the alternating lines. I really like how it turned out!
The girls on the right were already on this page and I thought they'd like sitting near the tree. After gluing down the strips, I was staring at the images, when the thought came "dream a little dream with me". That got me thinking about my dream of being a full-time artist, so that's where the journaling went. We shall see if this dream comes true!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yummy new background papers

Since I'm getting close to finishing my first art journal, I figured it's not too early to start thinking about journal #2. At first I assumed I'd just start another composition notebook, but the flimsy paper is a little bit limiting. So I thought I'd try making my own. Yesterday, I stopped at Kinko's to find some highly recommended Wausau 140# exact index cardstock (in fact, it's the ONLY paper that Kelly Kilmer uses for her journals!) Others have said they were able to get it at their local Kinko's, but the employees here had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Didn't even recognize the Wausau name ... which doesn't really make sense to me since lots of varieties of Wausau paper are available through their website, so I would think they'd have at least heard of it (but what do I know, I'm just a customer, right?)

Anyways, since I was there, I browsed through their paper sample book and chose to get 10 sheets of another nice cardstock (roughly 90# I think) to play with. I bought the 11x17 size because I was originally planning to fold them and bind them into a journal, but on the way home I started thinking again (dangerous, I know!) I usually work in 2-page spreads, but I want to challenge myself to work with single pages and not worry about whether the facing pages "go together". So I decided to cut them in half and journal on the single pages (I plan to have them bound after they are done). So after dinner, I cut them up and got ready to play with my 40 new pages!

I got my paints out and started doing the paint scraping technique ... just doing page after page until it was time to get the kids to bed (they had fun helping me pick out color combos to try for the next one, and the next one ....) All told, I did 11 pages this way. Then this morning, I took several more page and played with my watercolor crayons, and I also did the backside of several of the paint scraped ones. Fun, fun, fun!!

Next I plan to paint a few backgrounds with a paintbrush (I love the texture of paint strokes). My goal is to have each piece of paper have each side done with a different technique ... I'd like to have a couple more background techniques to use for even more variety, but not sure what else to do. I'm thinking about a technique Nance describes in her archives (using crayons and colored pencils), but I can't tell if this can be written on. I think I'll go to her blog after this post is finished and ask. If you have any other ideas for backgrounds for my journal, please leave a comment (and if there's a tutorial out there, too, a link would be awesome!)

Oh, and another thought I had ... since I will be working with loose sheets of paper, I will also start another composition notebook for when I'm out and about ... I love having a journal with me for those unexpected moments of free time. Yes, it is OKAY to have more than one journal going at a time LOL! Maybe I'll name them Thing 1 and Thing 2 ....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Get more visits to your blog?

Have you heard about this new thing called BlogRush? You register (for free) and get a whatchamacallit (aka a widget) to put in your sidebar and supposedly you'll get more traffic to your blog. Sounded interesting, so I signed up ... we shall see if it really works LOL! If you want to check it out, just click here and watch the video on their main page. Have fun!

Friday, September 14, 2007

This hand

I finally did something with the backgrounds I did using the paint scraping technique last month! I used one for this week's theme (#29) at Blissfully_Art_Journaling which is "this hand". And I thought I'd try to work with Inspire Me Thursday's "limited palette"challenge from last week, so I stayed with the purples and yellows of the background instead of trying to introduce new colors.This background was actually my least favorite of the 6 I did ... I picked it because I figured if what I imagined didn't work right, I wouldn't ruin one of the better ones. But now that I've done something with it, I love it! Just goes to show that you can't judge it until it's really done. Now I really can't wait to play with the other 5 backgrounds!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Orange crush

The color orange has become one of my favorites (a close second to my all-time favorite green!) and so I started collaging orange images on a layout, adding a little at a time as I came across them. Then this morning, I sat down and dug through my orange paper drawer and finished it up. Definitely a happy layout!

I want a red apron!

Okay, you must have guessed I'd be doing an apron page sooner or later, right?! All this apron love just had to end up in my journal:The background is watercolor crayon smeared with a wet wipe, the doodling is a silver gel pen and the images are from magazines (with a few used for packing tape transfers), except the lower right corner, which is the front of a gorgeous notecard that someone sent me ages ago. The journaling is done with Pitt pens, with the 2 quotes coming from EllynAnne Geisel's The Apron Book. I absolutely adore this book! I've read through it twice and have even made 2 aprons using one of the patterns in the book (no, I haven't posted pics yet ... one of them is going to be a Christmas gift and I don't want to spoil the surprise ... but don't worry, I will post pics as soon as I can).

After making this page, I noticed that it fits Blissfully_Art_Journaling's theme #12 "Red" ... I want a red apron so bad LOL! I really do need to get back to Target and get that red dishtowel before it's gone ....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mmmm ... chocolate ...

A gluebook-style page in my art journal that really says it all ...Background is acrylic paint left over from when I was making this project, then some chocolate wrappers and magazine pics glued down ... the words are packing tape transfers.
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