Blog: Kyoto Stencil

Interrogating Fear – Art Journal

“We climbed slowly towards the greatest of our terror of that time, we want to expose ourselves to fear and interrogate it. ” – My Brilliant Friend

Are you interrogating your fears? Pretty hard to do but they say it’s one of the best ways to overcome things. I was mulling it over when I created this page.

I still have paper from my Suminagashi Session so I used one of those prints as a background. Suminagashi is a Japanese paper marbling technique that is very doable at home and yields some beautiful results for collage, bookbinding, art journaling etc.

For the facing page, I used a sheet I made with my Kyoto and Tokyo stencils along with Distress Oxide inks and a blending tool. The sketch I made on normal printing paper, and then adhered on top with a glue stick. 

Here are some of the supplies I used:

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    What a wonderful design and quote!


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Vitamin Sea – Art Journal

I need some vitamin Sea! How about you? I was inspired by our Creative Squad theme this month – Under the Sea. Are you longing for the ocean too?

I used acrylic paints for my background and posca markers with my Kyoto and Star Struck stencils. I also threw in my Wabi Sabi rubber stamps with archival ink so a little play with changing up scale with the same design elements.

I tried out a new set of Posca markers and really like the colors and pastel shades of them. You can find those in the links below.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Weather Report – Nicole Watson

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have an art journal page (and how-to video so you can watch it come together) from Nicole Watson that is a really lovely celebration of spring :) She is using my Santiago 9×12 and Kyoto stencils with this month’s theme: Weather Report – Let’s talk about the weather! Do you love thunderstorms? The crisp air of Autumn? A good snowstorm? Are you a fan of endless sunshine? Create something inspired by that go-to topic of small talk – the weather!

Spring in Texas is probably my favorite season. The weather is beautiful, the sun is warm but not too hot, and the wildflowers are blooming everywhere! I’m almost afraid to admit that I have spent more time outside working in my garden and photographing nature than in my studio. So, I decided to bring that weather and nature inside to my studio with these journal pages.

Nat challenged us this month to use only her stencils. I love challenges like this as it forces me to think outside the box and use supplies in a new way. Looking over my stencils, I decided that her Santiago stencil reminded me of garden lattice or a trellis and that I could potentially turn the images from her Kyoto stencil into flowers.


First, I gessoed my page and stuck down some ephemera with matte medium. I put the ephemera on the gessoed page and also the burlap page. Then, I added some bits of gesso on top the ephemera. 

I wanted the lattice to remain white and have a watercolor effect so I decided to use a masking fluid pen inside the stencil shapes. I didn’t necessarily want it to be perfect, so I didn’t trace the insides perfectly. On the burlap side, I sponged some gesso through the stencil. Several times throughout the process of creating the pages, I touched up the masking fluid to make it thicker or define places a bit more.

Next, I wanted to add some shadowing around my lattice and grabbed my stabilo all pencils to trace around the entire image and inside the squares that I didn’t use the masking fluid. I placed the stencil back on my pages to make it easier to trace. After activating the stabilo with water, I began the process of adding color.

Loosely painting with watered-down acrylic, I added blues on top the stenciled area and inside the large squares (for sky) and greens in the stencil. I did this process in a couple layers to build the color. I wanted the areas to be free, loose, and “watercolory” looking. I also added color to the burlap side.

When I was done adding layers and the paint was completely dry, I began removing the masking fluid. You can use your fingers to do this, but a rubber cement eraser makes the process so much easier!

I noticed that the places where I had ephemera under the masking fluid didn’t really stand out, so I placed the Santiago stencil back in the original position and painted in some of these areas with watery gesso. I also touched up the burlap gesso a bit as well.  While I waited for the gesso to dry, I typed up a little poem by Mary Oliver to put on the pages.

Finally, it was time to add some flowers to my page. I used my sponge applicator through the Kyoto stencil to create whimsical flowers in shades of red, orange, and purple.

To finish the page, I added a butterfly, a little sunshine on my poem, and a bit of shading with some stabilo.

Life is definitely not what we expected it to be right now! Spending time outside in the sunshine, in my studio, going on walks, taking photos, and enjoying the weather help bring focus to what is important. They, like Mary Oliver’s poem, bring happiness and kindness to my days.

Thank you Nicole – I love how you interpreted the Kyoto stencil as a floral element! Thank you so much for bringing some sunshine to our day!!!

Want to give Nicole’s project a try? You can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop. In addition to her cool vintage typewriter, here are some of the other supplies Nicole used:

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In Need of Zen – Art Journal

“In these crazy times I need to create my own zen!” I was listening to the news and needed to create a calming art journal spread.

I cut out some shapes from tyvek and then stenciled with acrylic paint.

I added in my Kyoto stencil with pink gouache. All happy colors, trying to find some zen :)

I embraced the calm of open white space and then used a Dewent watersoluable pencil for the journaling.

How do you find zen in your art journal?

Here are some of the supplies I used:

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    Simply wonderful Nat.
    I find zen when I play with texture and layers in my art journal or on canvas.


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New Lines – Art Journal

“She couldn’t keep her colors inside the lines, so she drew new lines.” This time of year always gets me thinking about new lines :)

I used my new Space Age Modern stencil in the background along with acrylic paint and the topper stamp from my Large Circle Jumble set.

Also a bit of collage in here with papers that I used with my Kyoto stencil, Signals stencil, my Numerals stamp, and my Brownstone stamp. Lots of layers and lots to look at.

My quote is also collaged in – mixed media tissue paper from Dina Wakley.

Here are some of the supplies I used.

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Path – Art Journal

“There is no path. The path is made by walking.” Time to get out there and blaze some new ones :)

For this I used Liquitex and Golden paints with my new Kyoto stencil. I love this color combination of a warm background and then a nice cool pattern on top – really makes things pop.

I used a pencil eraser dipped in paint for the dots (a good trick) and a Fude pen for my journaling.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

And don’t forget my Online Workshop Sale – ends tonight at 11:59pm EST – great savings on every online workshop except CJS20:

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