As Easy as 1-2-3 Background² Tutorial

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Art Journal, Backgrounds


Today I am showing you how to make a background- actually two different backgrounds – for an art journal spread as easy as you count to 3…or almost as easy ;)


Picking my art journal, my Lily Wallpaper Stencil and Liquitex Spray Paint I start by spraying over the stencil over the left spread of my art journal.


Using the paint on the stencil for a negative imprint, I simply flip the stencil over to the right side and brayer over the back of my stencil


You can use the flip over step of course on a total different spread- because essentially these are actually two different background starters with the same techniques and materials. But I like to work in a double spread on my art journal and I like it when the sides are similar – like here in pattern, but still have  some interesting differences.


Using a big brush I spread a thin layer of Acrylic Ink over the spread. I love how the effect  – on the left side the lilly design is more bound in


while on the right, by taking some of the ink off with a baby wipe, the blue spray paint color pops even more.


I picked the same blue as a Soft Body Acrylic Paint as I used as a Spray Paint (Phthalocyanine Blue (Green Shade) for the next step. Layering my Ornament Stencil over the empty spaces of my Lily Background I stenciled single ornaments in.


And done is/are my background(s)


Here is the background 1 …and


Easy, wasn’t it? I will show you in a couple days, what I actually did in my art journal with these two backgrounds.

Here is a complete list of the supplies I used


Have an amazing day




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Comments (3)

  • Jani Franck


    I love how the layering works – gorgeous technique, thanks for sharing :)


  • Sue Clarke


    Sweet and you make it look so easy.


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Stroll Through The Hood – November 2014

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Stroll Through The Hood


Always fun to take a stroll through the hood here in New Jersey- here is what inspired me since my last post :)


Bathroom humor …good one ;)


beautiful new street art- this one is by faith47


And another one that I love by Sean Lugo .


spent a fun afternoon at Mana Contemporary- awesome the building


and dreaming of spending an afternoon in the silk screen room


getting all over those amazing colors (I stink, I lost the paper that has the name of the artist scribbled on – and I couldn’t find the information on Mana either )


Indulging seen colors by cooking a stew with American fall veggies …because…I don’t wanna be a starving artist- you know ;)


spending every possible but rare moment in the last couple weeks in my studio and on the deck !


Sometimes though just taking a bike tour to a close by secret beach in JC


Learning of the existence of Horseshoe Crabs 


and starting to dread the coming winter already …


But as long as artists like Mr. Mustart bring some color to my hood – like here changing the look of an ugly construction wall- I will be good and see lots of inspiring things on my strolls :)


Have an inspiring day




This post currently has 4 comments.

Comments (4)

  • Kathy P


    WOW! How awesome is all this! You are truly one artist with the camera, too! And I have always been fascinated with horseshoe crabs! TFS, Nat! Started my day off happy seeing this post!


  • Jackie P Neal


    Nat, Your strolls are always inspiring! I love your colorful veggies and your photo of studio and deck- oh beauty! All of the art on the walls, so nice to see, art and not just random scribbles and unsightly words-
    and as for the impending winter- my hub thinks it will be an easy one- he is usually right. We live upstate close to Lake Ontario, so right in the snowbelt-, we’ll check back on this in the spring! heehee xo


  • Sue Clarke


    Love your studio and so much natural light!
    Horseshoe crabs were a part of my childhood growing up in Gloucester, MA and finding them on the beach. Nice photo.


  • Sandi Miaskoff


    Nat, don’t let the winter deprive us of your beautiful pictures, it will only bring another view of the same sites – just as beautiful


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Layered Art Journal Page Tutorial

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Art Journal, Tutorial


“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a stroke of luck” – Dalai Lama

And sometimes you won”t find out about that until much later… ;) For this spread I wanted a layered look to go with this quote. Let me share with you how I worked on this art journal page


I chose three vibrant but close red /pinkish Liquitex Soft Body Paints: Naphthol Crimson, Fluorescent Red and Hibiscus and dry brushed and blended them together on the blank page.


Using the Art Deco Wallpaper Stencil I designed for StencilGirl Designs I spray painted here and there a second layer with Cadmium Red Deep Hue 5 onto the spread.


The result was very subtle as  I used the same color scheme as for the background but exactly that gives it so much dimension and depth. So I grabbed my Lilly Wall Decor Stencil and sprayed over it with Cadmium Red Light Hue.


I just love the crisp stenciling effects with those spray paints!


For my next layer I wanted to tone down the brightness a bit and was going for a white. But I also didn’t want a shiny white to not pick up on the brightness of my background and so I chose Gesso instead of Acrylic white paint to use with my Batik Stencil.


I used only parts and bits of the Batik Stencil here and there.


For my next layer I picked up the Lilly Stencil again – Repetition of Patterns is also a good way to layer and I had already used the Lilly Stencil AND I knew I was going to use my Elephant Stencil that has the Lilly in a smaller form as a pattern too :)


I used Iridescent Bright Gold and used a cosmetic sponge to stencil through. BTW the sad looking foamy thing on the right is the cosmetic sponge. It looks like this because I use it several times cutting off the tip for new colors to make the most of it.


And since I was talking about repetition : As the Elephant Parade Stencil also has small parts of my ornament stencil included, I pulled out the Ornament Wallpaper Stencil and stenciled with gold here and there.


I wish the photos could do the gorgeous golden color justice…but you just have to take my word for it…it is amazing in real life! Then it was time to get the big guns…eh Elephants out. My Elephant Parade Stencil.


I mixed some gesso with a drop of Ultramarine Blue and stenciled through the Elephant Silhouette part.


I may repeat myself…but remember …I was talking about repetition? Using the patterned Elephant part of the stencil showing parts of the Ornament and Lilly Stencil I used the leftover paint and stenciled some of the images here and there onto my art journal page.


Then I layered the patterned elephant stencil part over the area where I created the elephant silhouette and sprayed over with three different spray paints  – variating the pressure and areas to get color graduation and more dimension. I used: Parchment, Phthalo Blue and Neutral Grey.


To get a bit contrast in I knew I needed some black in the page and since I do love to make a mess…I grabbed my Splatter tool and some black acrylic ink. To make sure that I was not getting any splatters into my elephant, I shielded it off with the elephant mask that is also part of the Elephant Parade Stencil. YES…three in one : Mask, Silhouette and Stencil – pretty pretty cool- if I dare to say so ;)


And then I used my new found Love… I had tested the Derwent Graphik Line Painter already in spring at NAMTA and I couldn’t wait for it to finally be available. LOOOOOVEEEE – I am a nerd for a really good black journaling pen and this one writes beautifully and without any problems on dried (!) acrylic backgrounds and it is permanent once dried. Awesome journaling and sketching pen – the black is one numbered #18.


Here are some details of the finished page




Hope you liked the little layering tutorial – I won’t lie – it takes some time and usually …I would even go for more layering before adding the final focal points on my spread :)

Here is a list of all the supplies and colors I used


Have a gorgeous day:)



This post currently has one comment.

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    Nice layers and I’ll have to try working with multiple shades of the same color for a change. I must search for that new black pen as well.


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