Peony and Parakeet

A Decorative Pattern for Art Journals and Beyond

Step-by-step instructions for a decorative pattern that can be used as it is or for creating collage art. By Peony and Parakeet.

A couple of months ago, I made a flip-through video of a full art journal. Many noticed a spread that was made from decorative papers mostly. I remembered that I took some photos while making the papers and I will share step-by-step instructions here. This pattern is good practice for motoric skills and drawing, but it can also go beyond! I used it for a more expressive purpose, for a collage art piece.

1) Paint Stripes with Watercolors

Use a fairly thin paper and paint it with watercolors. Use a selection of colors to create stripes or curves.

Step-by-step instructions for a decorative pattern that can be used as it is or for creating collage art. By Peony and Parakeet.

You can add drops of water if you want to make the background more interesting with bleeds.

Step-by-step instructions for a decorative pattern that can be used as it is or for creating collage art. By Peony and Parakeet.

Let the paper dry properly.

2) Decorate the Stripes with a Simple Loop Pattern

Using a thin-tipped black drawing pen, draw a simple loop and end it with a curve upwards. Without lifting the pen off the paper, add a bunch of loops on the top of the curve. Then continued by drawing a curved line downwards. Repeat and draw the whole row on the same go. Work fast and don’t worry too much about the symmetry or similarity of the loops.

Step-by-step instructions for a decorative pattern that can be used as it is or for creating collage art. By Peony and Parakeet.

After drawing the rows, frame the loops to make them more distinct. I used simple shapes to create flowers and leaves.

Step-by-step instructions for a decorative pattern that can be used as it is or for creating collage art. By Peony and Parakeet.

3) Color the Background and Add More Decoration

To make the watercolored layer look more lively, use felt-tipped pens (marker pens) and color the background around the doodled shapes. You can also add more color to doodled details and use a white gel pen to add more decoration to colored areas.

Step-by-step instructions for a decorative pattern that can be used as it is or for creating collage art. By Peony and Parakeet.

Decorative Pattern in Many Colors

This pattern looks luxurious when you make many papers in many colors with slightly different decorations.

Step-by-step instructions for a decorative pattern that can be used as it is or for creating collage art. By Peony and Parakeet.

Here are some that I made!

Step-by-step instructions for a decorative pattern that can be used as it is or for creating collage art. By Peony and Parakeet. Step-by-step instructions for a decorative pattern that can be used as it is or for creating collage art. By Peony and Parakeet.

Decorative Pattern in Collage Art

I am fascinated by the interface between art, design, and crafts. The idea for the pattern came from knitting. I wanted to find a similar relaxing circular motion using a pen instead of a knitting needle. So that’s how a craft transformed into a design. But design can also be a part of a more expressive piece.

When Geese Fly Over, a mixed media painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

In this collage, I use decorative paper pieces with paint. My starting point was a watercolor background, acrylic paint, and a piece of decorative paper.

Creating a mixed media painting using hand-decorated paper. By Peony and Parakeet.

I cut a couple of decorative shapes and glued them on the background with gel medium.

Glueing collage pieces. By Peony and Parakeet.

Then I continued with painting using acrylic paints. In the finishing phase, I also used some more paper pieces and few colored pencils. A week or two ago, I heard the geese flying over our house. They were leaving Finland, going to a warmer place for a winter. Their sounds made me think how limited we people are, not being able to fly so freely, not always being able to stick so tightly together. The screams of the geese felt bright yellow and for a short moment, I wanted to join them and not stay in Finland, waiting for snow …

When Geese Fly Over, a mixed media painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Get step-by-step instructions for doodled collage art – Buy Doodled Luxury!

16 thoughts on “A Decorative Pattern for Art Journals and Beyond

  1. Paivi?? I love your work and ideas…have not jumped in yet to
    take a class…but will at some point…Thank you for sharing your wonderful Art…wish I could visit you!!!

  2. I’ve been enjoying making some of those decorated papers while working my way through some of your classes. I recommend them highly. I’m so glad you do what you do and share your art along the way!

  3. Thank you for sharing this inspiration piece! I too heard and saw the geese heading out, yesterday. It gives me pause to consider my place in this world. Mary G. B.

  4. Thank you for showing us the steps you took to make these beautiful papers. I will use this with my middle school (11-13 years old) art students to first guide them through this process, so they gain confidence that this is something they can do. It’s one thing to see the finished work, and it’s another thing to first step out and even know how to begin.

  5. thanks for sharing another great technique — have learned so much from you paivi — love your workshops too

  6. thank you so much for your demo-you have inspired me to get out my basic tools and create again! can’t wait to share with my kiddos!

  7. I love experimenting with different media Right now I am playing with alcohol inks and enjoying the way the colors just bloom and expand it helps me to free myself from the boundaries I seem to place on myself Thank you for sharing your step by step I know I will play with it I have learned from your classes and all the hints you so freely share One day the key will turn and I will believe more in myself Thank you Elaine

  8. Thanks for this lovely idea! And for the explanation too!

    A few days ago I awoke with enormous noise, jumped out of my bed and saw a lot of geese in their beautiful V-flight.
    Wonderful, isn’t it, how they know their direction.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top