Blog: A Look Back

A Look Back – Playing with Lettering Part 2

A Look Back – Today I’m revisiting a topic I covered once before: how you can play with lettering in your art journal or mixed media projects. You don’t have to have amazing handwriting skills to mix things up and create some impact with your lettering. Below are 5 ways to do it whether you are John Hancock (US history reference lol) or not :) ENJOY!!!

Sometimes it is as simple as just choosing the right medium to do your lettering. I got big juicy results from using Liquitex acrylic ink in a metallic copper here in this art journal. The metallic inks have some body to them from all the flake in there so I got nice bold letters without needing to work very hard. Some inks are thicker than others and will work in this way. Try some out and experiment!

If you want a bit more character to your writing, try another layer – use a contrasting colored acrylic marker to add dots, stripes, squiggles and more. In this art journal page I used a big white sharpie over black acrylic paint. I had already varied the letters in the word so I chose to vary the additional marks too. Sometimes more is more and the way to go.

Do you struggle with keeping your writing straight and all neat and tidy? Throw your ruler out the window and embrace movement! Draw a series of gently wavy lines as I have in this spread, then eyeball the spacing between them and don’t stress – they can be even or totally different. Then use those lines as your guides for writing. Now your undulating text is a design element and intentional. Play with how you space your lines, how wavy they are, and how angled they are. Push the limits and have fun!

Another way to create a guide for writing is to follow a design element in your page. I love how Creative Squad alum Jennifer uses the diamond shape to journal around in this spread. It emphasizes the shape and her writing isn’t meant to be read so it almost looks like a frilly edge around the shape.

Creative Squad alum Nicole has a couple more cool ideas in this spread. Where should your journaling go? Work in the space between two design elements – here she tore a piece of collage paper, glued it down with a gap in between the two pieces, and did her journaling in the chasm. Also this is a great reminder to consider the impact that letter stickers can have instead of handwriting. This application is bold but there are so many options out there these days that they can fit almost any style.

I hope you enjoyed our Look Back today and have some ideas for lettering in your projects. It’s a great way to mix things up!

A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it will be fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

Here are some of the supplies used in these projects:

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A Look Back – Let’s Make Patterns!

A Look Back – Sometimes I get on a pattern-making kick, either because I come out with new stamps that lend themselves to patterns (like when I released the Triangle Love rubber stamps) or maybe I just need a more meditative art activity than the usual. The repetitious activity can be very relaxing, especially if you don’t get hung up on perfection. Let’s take a Look Back at some pattern fun on the blog through the years:

Back in April 2021 my friend Sarah Matthews and I created an April ArtFomies Challenge and I used it as an excuse to make lots of patterns in my big ledger art journal. It became like a guidebook for the stamps and I’m really glad I did it. You can see a flip through of the book I worked in and see the other posts too here on the blog.

I designed my Mini Hex foam stamp set with patterns in mind and when I finally got the set to try, I couldn’t help myself :) I had to try them all… ALL the pattern possibilities. Just the Clam Hex in the set is a powerhouse.

A similar thing happened when I came out with my Hex Set Small and Large, Fantastic Large and Small, and Floral Tile Large and Small rubber stamp sets. I made patterns. Every day for a month in April 2019 I explored all the different ways these stamps could work together. And I only scratched the surface. But in it I found how nicely shapes can play together and how an exercise like this can open your eyes to color combinations too. Have a look at all my April Patterns here.

I did it again in 2020 and made some short but sweet videos when I released my Triangle Love and Mini Motifs rubber stamps. Until you really play with your stamps a whole lot, you may not even realize what is possible to make with them. I don’t always know how my designs will work together so making patterns just for the sake of play is very helpful. Watch the first batch of those mini videos here.

I cranked out the patterns for a couple weeks and got to know my stamps better in the process. Here was the second batch of those mini videos.

What next you might ask? Well, for this play date Kim and I used one of my pattern books as a reference. We paged through and chose patterns to replicate for stamping on shopping tote bags here. It was fun to see the patterns take on a new life.

I hope you enjoyed this Look Back. Just remember, even stamps that are representational can be worked in this way. Repeat them, rotate them, and flip them in every different way. I do it with rubber stamps and foam stamps alike. You’ll be surprised what happens!

Here are some of the supplies used in these posts:

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A Look Back – Clothing I’d Like to Wear

A Look Back – Often I will include a figure in my art journal pages and hey, they’ve got to wear something ;) Usually I reach for my stamps and stencils to give their clothing a little pattern and style and sometimes the art magic happens and their clothing turns out pretty nifty. So nifty, I wish it actually existed in my own closet to wear! Maybe someday I’ll try to replicate one of these looks for real life:

This art journal page from 2018 is one of those serendipitous moments where something just happens and it looks so good. I did some practice paintings of florals with watercolor and decided to sketch the legs on one of them with acrylic ink, and then I stamped over it with some of my Stroll Through the Hood and Stroll around the Block stamps. These pants are pretty wild but I totally dig them.

In this art journal spread I created a dress using my Grove St and Valley Road foam stamps and then thought it could use a bit more texture, so I added the Craftsman stamp from my Stroll Around the Block rubber stamp set. I guess more is more here and it came together nicely. Yup, I’d wear it!

In this art journal page I kinda made things easier for myself and stamped my Millie stamp from the Actually I Can set onto deli paper. I positioned her skirt over the Amsterdam foam stamped part and the top half of her body over the painted section. Check out the completed page here to see how I finished off her look and then incorporated her into my art journal.

Creative Squad alum Jennifer Gallagher created a bunch of different looks for Millie’s dress here in this post. It totally brings me back to paper dolls and I love the variety of dresses she’s made using Posca pens.

Even just a tiny part of a stencil, carefully placed, can take a plain top and give it a unique style as we see here in Creative Squad Jordan Hill’s art journal page. My Art Deco Empire stencil looks really cool as a pattern around that scoop neck. Once again, I’d wear it :)

I hope you enjoyed this Look Back post and will think about how you can use stamps and stencils to give the clothing your figures wear a finishing touch. And maybe like me, you’ll wind up loving what you create and think about how you might be able to make something like that in real life.

Here are some of the supplies used in these posts:

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A Look Back – Acrylic Ink in Action!

A Look Back – Supplies are one of the things that really inspire me and it’s easy to amass a ton of them… and then kinda forget what you have. When I moved recently I was reminded of all the wonderful acrylic inks I have that are good for so many different techniques. It is such a useful supply that I include it in my Art on the Go Kit too lol. Anyway, all this inspired me to work with them again but also to put together this Look Back post focusing on Acrylic Ink.

Sketching with acrylic ink is a favorite of mine. I like to use a bamboo sketching pen and work on deli paper. It’s a loose and freestyle sketching that takes a bit of patience and multiple dips in the ink to complete, and when it’s done I can use matte medium to seamlessly add it into my art journal. Acrylic ink won’t reactivate with water so then you can go in and add color and detail with all different types of media. Here’s the original post for this art journal page.

The density of color in acrylic ink is really appealing. I made a video here back in 2015 showing just how yummy it is to use acrylic ink over gesso. Backgrounds with this technique can be bold and bright or subtle depending on your color choices. It’s fun to experiment!

Acrylic ink plays well with lots of other media. In this art journal page I began with white spray paint and my Flower Maze stencil. Once the spray paint dried, I spread acrylic ink on the page and then wiped the ink away using a baby wipe. It had soaked into the blank page but wiped to reveal a lighter blue where the spray paint was. I like this two-tone effect.

For a more dramatic resist technique, I like to pair it with embossing ink and a foam stamp like my Mid Century Squared stamp. Do your embossing and once it’s set just brush on acrylic ink and gently wipe. The smooth embossing will resist the acrylic ink and reveal the stamped embossing pattern. Check it out here in this Foam Stamplifier post.

Playing with this resist is also a fun way to finish a page. Here in this art journal spread I used spray paint with a hand cut stencil and acrylic paint with my Groovy foam stamp. When everything was dry I painted yellow acrylic ink over the whole thing – it doesn’t overpower anything but ties it all together. Done :)

One more example of sketching with acrylic ink above :)

I hope you enjoyed this Look Back post and will try your hand at some of these techniques. Acrylic Ink is super fun, versatile, and comes in the whole rainbow of colors to fit anyone’s aesthetic. Here are some of the supplies I used in the projects above:

A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it’s fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

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A Look Back – April Flowers

A Look Back – Here in the US they have a saying that goes “April showers bring May flowers” but hey, I’m ready for the flowers now LOL. My neighborhood is right there with me and in fact there are trees and bulbs making a colorful show every where I look. So I thought I’d also search for blooms in my art journals from years past and we could have a little flower show.

So here we go, April Flowers for all of you :)

Let’s kick things off with some good advice that a friend once told me. This art journal page was from way back in 2014 and I started with a spray painted background and layered on some acrylic marker drawings of plants that I had done. I think the simple style of it really matches the sentiment quite nicely.

Skip forward to spring 2018 with this art journal page. My background uses my Kassel stencil and then I painted those blooms with acrylic paint and gouache. I might not be flowery (like the journaling says), but I sure do love fresh flowers and always try to have some around the house to brighten things up.

Also that year I became smitten with all the pink cherry blossoms in my hood. They were everywhere and so I picked up a brush, some acrylic paint and acrylic ink, and created this art journal page. The scale of the flowers may be a little generous, but my enthusiasm for them couldn’t have been bigger!

Does painting flowers seem a bit intimidating? One of the easiest ways to create a few blooms is to use a stamp like my Fan-Tastic Small rubber stamps and just add a stem. Instant flowers that are perfect for card making or wherever. This card was from my Deck of Cards (greeting cards that is) challenge back in 2019 here on the blog.

And lastly, flowers never have to be pigeon-holed. They are too fun and happy to just be in a bunch or a vase. Why not wear one like a hat? Why not? It’s your art journal. You can do whatever you like just like I’ve done in this page from 2020. I created a nifty pattern background with my Triangle Love stamps and then added my whimsical drawing of a girl wearing a flower hat.

I hope you enjoyed this little bundle of flowers from me to you and maybe it’s inspired you to add a floral element to what you’re creating.

A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it’s fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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A Look Back – Thoughts on Perfection

A Look Back – As artists we are obviously very aware of the visual world and that means it’s easy to get caught up in getting things to look right… maybe even perfect… but what is perfection and who sets the rules anyway? I thought it might be a good time to give perfection a hard look and maybe we’ll see that it isn’t such a great idea after all.

For A Look Back today let’s take a stroll through my art journals from the past and tease out some gems that reveal my Thoughts on Perfection.

Let me just come right out and say it, “Perfect is boring.” When you’re perfect you’re not pushing boundaries, exploring the uncharted, or challenging yourself and that’s the spice of life! I think when you stop trying to be so perfect in your art, all those messy adventures that turn out a little different than anticipated are pretty interesting. You can see this art journal post from 2014 here.

Perfection and fear seem to be very close friends… so I’m thinking if you say bye bye to trying to be perfect you may not be so afraid of what happens next. So what if your art journal page is a bit wonky, or someone thinks it looks less than lovely? The goal was never to be perfect, the goal was to create, and no one can tell you that you didn’t accomplish that. Here is that original post from 2019.

“To be imperfect means to be real!” It’s hard to argue with that – after all, no one is perfect. And don’t we all feel our best when we can just be ourselves, “warts and all”? I think the same goes for creating artwork too – its power comes from authentic expression more than some achievement of perfection. Here is the post for this art journal page from 2018.

Bottom line? “The middle is messy but that is where the magic happens.” There are probably going to be some major messes, some mistakes, maybe even a few dramatic failures BUT taking those artistic risks is how you move forward, grow, and keep things interesting. I think that as long as the goal is to Make Art and not To Be Perfect, the journey and the destination will be much more fun, exciting, and satisfying. You can find this art journal page post from 2020 here.

I hope you enjoyed this and are ready to say “So long” to the limitations of perfection.

A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it’s fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

Here are some of the supplies I used in these projects:

Leave a comment

A Look Back – Lady in Red (in my Art Journal)

A Look Back – As I was looking through my blog archives I started to notice a reoccurring fashion trend happening right there in my art journal. There were a lot of girls wearing red. I don’t know why. I usually gravitate towards black or something a bit more neutral. But in the world of my art journal, the girls are rocking this strong hue. It didn’t take me long to find five of them, and I bet if you go back and look at my posts you can find even more. So I thought it would be fun to dedicate this Look Back to the Lady in Red in my art journal :)

This first one is from way back in 2014 when I came out with my Batik Stencil. This cool chick is standing strong in a red trench that means business. And I like how I used the Batik pattern on the left and then printed the reverse on the right using the painted back side of the stencil. You can check out the original post here.

At the start of 2015 my art journal gal is in a red dress AND some fierce makeup too. Don’t mess with her. But maybe you want to borrow something from her wardrobe :) You can see the original post for this page here. It’s all about that layered background – symbolic of the drama that can surround us and overwhelm us if we’re not careful.

Later in 2015 I had my girl in a fun red top and blue hair – she is definitely not afraid of color! Check out the original post here to see the full background and a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that works perfectly for artists.

In 2018 I traveled to Japan and brought back, among other things, collage material and loads of artistic inspo of course! I created this art journal page with a woman in a red jacket and hat, using inksticks and an inkstone – materials used for writing and calligraphy. I made quite a few art journal pages after this trip that were really pared down and only using a color or two. Pretty cool how travel can influence you like that.

Along those same lines, this spread is from just a few weeks later in 2018 and the white page still plays an important role …and my girl is still in red! Although in this page she is sporting a fun red print! I love how she is completely popping off the blue Manhattan stamped background. You can see the original post here.

I hope you enjoyed this. A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it’s fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

Here are some of the supplies I used in these projects:

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A Look Back – The Artful Tabletop – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed

A Look Back – As many of us retreat to our homes again I thought it would be good to look at some projects that can make dining at home feel a bit more festive. This is a collection of posts from the past that can help you think about using stamps and stencils to create an Artful Tabletop. Lets make eating in, even on special occasions, feel like an elevated experience!

Ok first things first, pour yourself a glass of wine :) Then let’s look at this post on making some sweet wine charms with shrink film and my Stroll Through the Hood 1 and 2 stamp sets. You don’t want to mix up that glass with anyone else that may be in your household or bubble, right? This is no time to be sharing germs. And hey, even if you aren’t interacting with anyone else right now, wine charms are just cute accessories to have regardless and shrink film is ALWAYS fun to play with.

So we have the drinks covered. Let’s move on to some napkins…

Cloth napkins are the way to go when it comes to making your table look good at home. Not only are they better for the environment, but they just feel nice when you’re dabbing that homemade lasagna off your mouth. And, when you follow the tutorial in this post you’ll see you can choose the perfect colors to go with your tableware and vibe at home. We used some of my foam stamps for the patterns and fabric paint to make sure they hold up in the laundry. Welcome to Chez Moi.

Next up: let’s give those napkins a ring! Nothing says you tried to gussy up a table like napkin rings :)

This blog post tutorial shows how to turn paper clay, some of my pattern stencils (like Hamilton seen above), and PanPastels into one-of-a-kind rings for those newly stamped napkins. Give it a try and see if dinner doesn’t feel a bit fancier!

No tablescape is complete without a little element of nature – be it real flowers, greenery from your yard, or faux flowers.

In this blog post we turned plain white ceramic vases into artistic scenes by stamping my Stroll Through the Hood 1 and 2 rubber stamp sets. You’ll want to use an ink like StazOn for this project and then you can even color in with paint markers or glass paint markers. If you use the same stamps that you used for your wine charms, you will begin to build a cohesive look for your Artful Tabletop.

Lastly let’s talk about lighting.

To set the mood on any elegant table, candlelight is a must. Everyone looks better by candlelight, candlelight feels festive even when it’s dark and dreary outside, and I don’t know if there is any scientific proof to this but food just tastes better when there are lit candles on a table. Here is an easy tutorial to create candles stamped with my Stroll Around the Block rubber stamps and some tissue paper.

There you go – 5 projects to get you excited about dining at home and making your Artful Tabletop something to admire and enjoy. You may even need to start posting pics of your dinner online if you keep this up. Have fun!!!

I hope you enjoyed this. A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it will be fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

Here are some of the supplies I used in these projects:

Leave a comment

A Look Back – 2021 Art Journal Pages – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed

A Look Back – I thought it might be nice to look back at Art Journal pages from 2021 to get a feel for the year. Let’s face it 2021 was a tumultuous year as we continue to struggle worldwide, and a lot of those feelings I got out in my art journaling. Ready for some from this past year?

I actually created this spread at the end of 2020 and shared it at the start of 2021. The journaling reads “Is it over yet? Hanging in there by a thread.” I really enjoyed creating the patterned background and I’ve found that building patterns is a nice zen activity for me. I was using my Chicago and Santiago stencils and then added my Mini Motifs rubber stamp which fit perfectly in the stencil design (smile). Last touch was one of my Fan-Fare rubber stamps in magenta. You can read the original post here.

When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

-Amanda Gorman

I still get shivers thinking about Amanda Gorman’s powerful poem from the US presidential inauguration. I think it inspired so many of us at the start of 2021 when we needed hope for the future and someone reminding us that we can be the light that the world needs. In the spread I kept things simple to focus on her words, I had to add that yellow coat, and then a pattern using my Fairview Fan foam stamp and my Fan-tastic Small rubber stamp set. Here is the original post.

“What if things get even crazier from now on… the ride never stops …bring it on.” Life rarely slows down and as usual I was feeling the pressure this year and also trying to remind myself to just hang on, persist, and maybe even enjoy the challenge. And I was also trying to use up some of my collage material in a constructive way lol so this page has a lot in there including a cut up painting on canvas, my Batik and Lily Wallpaper stencils, and my Mini Motifs and one of my Triangle Love rubber stamps. Here’s the post.

“Strive to create a world you might never live to see!” – Do it Anyway is what I called this page and again an epic adventure in collage as well as using my Row Houses foam stamp and my Mini Motifs rubber stamps along with a variety of media and layering techniques. Check out the post for some of that info.

“Trying hard to… Love.” was one of those blah day art journal pages that wound up being quite fruitful – it helped me figure out my LOVE foam stamp design which evolved to be a single line. Sometimes even if you don’t feel super motivated about anything, puttering around in your art journal can yield positive results. Here is a link to the original post.

I hope you enjoyed this Look Back at some of my art journal pages this year and if you’re interested in revisiting some other posts from the past, check them out: A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it will be fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

Here are some of the supplies I used in these pages:

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