My second large Dylusions Creative Journal(affiliate link) is full now, and I made a video of it for you. It’s not just an ordinary art journal flip-through, because I find many of them boring, but this video has 75 creative prompts and inspiring additional clips where you see me making many of the pages.
Dylusions Creative Journal – Thick but Durable
This journal is very thick, but the book is amazingly durable. I recommend Dylusions Creative Journal for all who love to create collage art and paint thick layers! The paper works quite well with watercolors too. It took nearly four years to fill 66 spreads of letter-size paper. It’s not my only journal though! It feels a bit strange now when this one is full. I might buy the third one in the near future!
I have always loved antique embroidery, and it inspires my art too. This week, I invite you to treat your pen as a needle and doodle the look of the precious hand-stitched fabric. My drawing – I call this Doodler’s Sampler – is 9 by 12 inches but you can make a smaller or bigger piece with these instructions. The best paper for this is Bristol paper. It’s smooth and nice to color with watercolors.
Step 1 – Draw a Grid
Because we aim for ornamental stiffness, a grid helps to place the elements. Use a pencil so that you can erase the lines before coloring. Start by outlining a space for a frame. Then divide the rest of the paper so that they help to place the main elements.
I wanted my Doodler’s Sampler to be symmetrical, so I drew a vertical centerline, and then divided the two halves into three parts. Another idea that I had was to have a vase of flowers. So I drew horizontal lines that mark each third, and the lowest third is reserved for the vase.
Step 2 – Sketch the Structure
Old samplers are filled with decorations but at the beginning, it’s enough to sketch the places for the biggest elements and their shapes.
I wanted to have something rectangular on the top corners, the vase on the bottom, plant-like organic shapes coming out of the vase, and then an angular jewel-like thing on the top of the ornament.
Step 3 – Doodle and Decorate
Pick a thin-tipped drawing pen, that has permanent ink, and start doodling! Make more shapes and fill them with circles, rectangles, flowers, hearts, anything you can think of!
My pen is Copic Multiliner, tip size 0.05. I add shadows to my doodles so that they don’t just outline the shapes but there are darker parts too.
I make the decorative border simpler so that it doesn’t take the power away from the centerpiece. Trembling lines look more decorative than straight ones.
Here’s my Doodler’s Sampler after Step 3, ready for coloring.
Step 4 – Color the Background
You can use any supplies for coloring, but in my opinion, the softness of watercolors complements the sharp black lines best. Start the coloring by adding some color to the background.
I use very little pigment and many tones so that the background looks like old antique linen.
Step 5 – Color the Doodles
Pick one main color for the sampler. My choice is cool carmine red. When coloring, add more decorations like dots and other decorative shapes. You can also color around a shape instead of inside the shape.
Pick slightly different tones for the frame. I use warmer red and a little bit of orange.
When you have colored the sampler with a very narrow color scheme, make it more lively with some new tones.
I added blue and yellow, but very sparingly.
You can also highlight the main elements by making the darkest areas pitch black.
Here are the black and white version and the colored version side by side. Click the image to see it bigger!
Doodler’s Sampler – For the Love of Flowers and Hand-Stitching
Henri Matisse has said: “I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things”. I think that to me, it goes like this: “I don’t paint things. I only paint the similarities between things.” So here’s for the love of flowers and hand-stitching!
I have been browsing my art archives lately, and it has been surprisingly inspiring. I have lots of art journals and a big box of paintings and drawings from my teenage years. Even if I have experimented with many techniques and themes, it all looks very similar now. Everything fits together and gets my approval. Painting “Icebreaker” gave me a new kind of confidence, and with that confidence, I am now blogging about a playful idea that I got from cross-stitching – hand-drawn collage samplers!
These samplers are composed of hand-drawn paper pieces so that they look like cross-stitch samplers. They have ribbons, many identical ornaments, tiny floating elements, and some symmetry. There’s also stiffness and order so that it looks like the elements are on a grid.
Cross-stitching is one of my hobbies, and even if I try not to think about art when stitching, I just couldn’t resist this idea! Here’s how I applied cross-stitching to collage art.
The original size of these pieces is much bigger than in the printed sheets.
Use All Kinds of Hand-Decorated Papers!
Samplers have a variety of designs, so every little doodle is a potential sampler piece. I have a box of hand-decorated and painted papers (mostly leftovers from Collageland) and two boxes of hand-drawn collage elements. I have also cut some old art created in the 1980s. All these are a good addition to small printed pieces.
Of course, you can also use store-bought die-cuts, pictures from magazines, etc. but if all the elements are handmade, they will all fit together much better because they are all YOU!
Perfect Project for Hand-Painted Background Pages
If you are an art journaler, I bet your journal has a lot of pages that are more like backgrounds rather than finished pages. You can use them for collage samplers!
The background of this sampler was busy and bright, but I just added brown over some of the areas and let the colors speak, or should I say shout!
I attached the pieces with paper glue and some larger elements with double-sided tape. I usually use gel medium, but it’s messier, and it’s too difficult to cut all those tiny pieces with sticky fingers.
Self-Expression with Hand-drawn Collage Samplers
Sticking paper pieces can be just a relaxing hobby, like cross-stitching. But samplers can also tell stories!
My first page is called Squirrel Sampler, and it has all kinds of little treasures that Paivi the Squirrel has collected.
The second page is called Rabbit Feeders. It refers to women’s status and importance in Virginia Woolf’s novel The Voyage Out. An isolated woman looks at herself from the mirror and questions her importance for the world. I read Voyage Out as a teenager, and this allegory, even if it’s just a few rows in the book, touched me deeply.
It often happens that creative play evokes feelings and stories that are too big to express in any other way. I hope you’ll enjoy making these samplers!
It’s soon October and with that – Inktober! Last year, I did all 31 prompts. Read about my previous experience here and here!
This year, I intend to make at least some drawings. And because Inktober was such a great experience for me last year, I want to support you to take it too. Here’s an Inktober warm-up exercise. I hope it inspires you to use inks and black felt-tipped pens to create black and white art. Follow the steps to keep going!
1) Paint an Abstract Composition
Let’s start by playing with liquid ink! Mine is Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink. I make the image on Leuchtturm 1917 Sketchbook.
Put a few drops of black ink on a palette. Mix some water to the ink so that it’s grey rather than pitch black. Make some pale strokes with a flat brush. Then add new strokes on the top of previous ones. Work slowly! Enjoy each stroke and the translucency of it.
Turn the brush upward and make narrow strokes by using the tip of the flat brush. Experiment with both wet and dry brush.
Pick a small round brush and add some ink on the top of the narrow strokes. Now you should have an abstract composition that has a variety of painted elements.
2) Fill Spaces Between the Painted Areas
Use a brush pen or black ink that hasn’t been watered down. Focus on the center of your composition.
Fill most of the spaces between the painted areas with black ink. Leave some white to highlight the best parts. Black adds depth to the grey composition.
3) Draw Realistic Objects
Select black thin-tipped drawing pens of various thicknesses. I use Copic Multiliners from 0.05 to 1.0.
Choose a realistic object that you want to repeat in the image. My choice was women’s faces. For example, flowers or birds could be great too.
Look at the abstract composition and seek for places where you can add the objects. Add more black, and adjust the shape of the pale areas so that they partly outline the objects. When drawing the objects, play with the scale so that some are big and some small no matter where they are located in the image. All the objects don’t have to be fully visible. Some can hide partly behind the abstract elements.
I like to draw faces so that I sketch it first with a thin ink pen, and then adjust it by adding a black element beside the face. (In my classes Animal Inkdom and Magical Inkdom, I show easy step-by-step methods for drawing all kinds of fun figures.)
4) Doodle Decorations
Continue with the black drawing pens, and doodle on the blank and pale areas. I also use a handmade oval template to get a big geometric shape that is fun to decorate.
For decoration, the sky is the limit, but I like jewels, frills, laces, waves, and flowers!
When doodling, I also add shadows to the elements by drawing thin lines side by side.
5) Finishing Touches: Shadows and Highlights
Squeeze your eyes and point all the white areas. Usually, there are too many and it makes the image look busy. Pick a brush and paint most of the white with diluted black ink.
Especially the areas that are near the edges are worth toning down.
I also like to paint over the shadowed areas to give them a softer look.
White gel pen can be handy for those areas that need a little bit more white.
Inktober Warm-Up – Finished Piece
Here’s my finished piece again. See how limited the number of white areas is.
I hope you enjoyed this Inktober warm-up! Tell me – are you going to participate in Inktober?