I’ve been enjoying watching the daily YouTube tutorial from Lavinia Stamps, particularly the ones using alcohol inks. So, I thought I’d dig out my small stash of alcohol inks, blending solution and Yupo paper to give it a go.
I can tell you, Lavinia stamps makes it look a helluva lot easier than it really is, as you can tell from my attempts above. The photograph makes them look worse than they are, but they’re still not what I was hoping for – fairly pale coloured, smoky, swirly, interesting backgrounds full of abstract texture and pattern, with seams of gold.
I have now bought a book about using Alcohol Inks and really hope that helps me. Apparently, you need to create a wash of alcohol inks or blending solution on the Yupo first to help the colours flow more easily. That may be why I have so many open patches in the colours.
I also used fairly small pieces of Yupo paper, which may not be the best size to work with.
For the record, I used a mixture of Piñata inks from Jacquard, Ranger Alcohol Inks. I had a gold mixative in the Piñata inks and that was most fascinating to watch work.
I tried a hair drier to move the ink around, but all I ended up with was a blend of the inks with a few ripples of tones of colour in them. I also tried blowing with a straw.
I was surprised how sticky the inks were when they seemed dry. However, after being left overnight, that stickyness is now gone, though I’ll leave them a while longer before doing anything with them.
I have ordered some alcohol lift reinker to try taking a print of the alcohol ink onto paper. That should lighten the colours somewhat. I then hope that I’ll have backgrounds to use for digital art, once I’ve scanned them.
As well as alcohol lift ink, I’ve ordered some Yupo card stock, which is thicker, less floppy and could work better for this. The book I bought suggests using a heat tool, carefully, for spreading the alcohol ink. It also has a recipe for making your own blending fluid for a fraction of the cost of the branded ones. So, I’ve ordered some isopropyl alcohol to go with the glycerine I already have in my stash.
It’s always fun to try out new techniques with media new to me. It can be incredibly frustrating until I work out how it can work for me!
As a side note, I really do need to order some gloves to use; I have really badly stained nails at the moment. A VOC respirator may also be a good idea; I don’t want the fumes to irritate my asthma or cause more respiratory problems. If I decide to draw on the alcohol ink backgrounds, then I will need to order some kind of varnish/sealant that I can draw on top of so my pens don’t get ruined. That, though, is for another time. Today, I’ll be using my more familiar media and tools.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with making art journal bits and bobs over the last couple of days. This morning has been no exception, other than the more I do and watch, the more ideas that come to me.
Yesterday, I created some blank, printable, templates for inchies, twinches and tea cards. I printed them out on plain paper so I could draw in them. I also made a list of themes I could tackle for them too.
I spent an hour or two filling in a sheet of inches with various designs. Then, I printed them on plain paper and also vellum for calligraphy. The vellum has a rough texture, interesting colours and subtle patterns in them. I have a laser printer, so wasn’t sure if it would print on the vellum; it did, however the print does come off if I’m a bit rough with it.
Nevertheless, I coloured some of the inches with Distress Inks and then adhered them to some 1″ tiles of thick chipboard card. I edged them with tresure gold wax from Imagination Crafts. Then, I gently applied a thin layer of Ranger’s gloss multi-media medium, to see if it would seal the laser printing; it did! It also brought out the colours of the Distress Inks.
These are simple enough to make. There are plenty of tutorials online for them. I made them from ordinary printer paper, then coloured them with Distress Inks.
Next, I added some dot embellishments using a small ball tool with Imagination Crafts’ Starlights metallic paint in rich gold. This is a beautiful, glittery, shiny paint that leaves some dimension when applied this way.
Finally, I adhered the inchies I’d made, along with some vintage book paper, to the envelopes.
I’m not sure if these envelopes are finished. I do want to use them to store either journaling notes in, or little pieces of art or mementos in them.
I haven’t been at all sure about tags and using them. However, I thought I’d see what I could do with them after yesterday’s mucking about with a tri-fold tag that turned into one single tag.
I wanted to make some templates for cutting the corners at the top of the tags, so I did that, using various widths of paper and slopes to remove the top corners.
I then realised I needed something to store them in, so I made an envelope for them.
The envelope has a more rectangular top flap and a plain front, perfect for embellishments.
Something occurred to me this morning while watching someone make tags using background paper. I thought that I could use my colouring sheets and entangled designs as my own background paper. So, I thought I’d try to use some.
I found some old designs on my computer and printed a couple of them both as the black line originals and with a grey line.
I made a tag and cut out a piece of one of the designs. I coloured the design with Distress Inks and used them to subtly colour the tag.
I didn’t like the way the neatly cut out background pattern looked when I placed it on the tag. So, I tore the edges. I still wasn’t happy, so I tried tearing it into strips. That looked better, but I still wasn’t happy with it, but I stuck the pieces down.
I used a gold glitter gel pen to add lines and patterns between the torn pieces, which created some pattern and interest.
Finally, I added a distress ink coloured belly band along with a word, “creativity” to the tag. For now, I tucked one of the seed packets behind the belly band.
The background drawing may be just too busy, detailed, and varied to work well. I need to bear this in mind going forward.
I am keeping notes of how I make tags, pockets, and other bits and bobs in an A5 dot grid notebook, along with ideas for other things to do or try. It’s turning out to be rather useful as a reference.
I’m struggling with accepting that what I’m creating for my art journal is “good enough”, “attractive enough”, “pretty”. It’s not like others I’ve seen, which is part of my problem.
I seem to like, mostly, neat edges, borders on work, very organised, neat, and carefully, geometrically arranged elements in my designs. I know I want to use my own artwork to create a journal, but I’m not sure it’s going to be successful in any kind of way. I have no idea if I’m on a wild goose chase.
I know I enjoy making these bits and bobs, I just don’t know if the overall end products actually work, so I’m doubting myself. I’m not sure I like what I’m creating. I mean, I really like individual elements such as the inchies and little panels on the envelopes. It’s when I start to actually combine them or put them into a journal that it all seems to go more than a bit skew-iffy.
I’m at that uncomfortable place I often find myself in when I’m creating a mandala or drawing or digital painting; partway through I want to give up as I think that what I’m creating is awful and not working. With the mandalas, drawings and digital art, I’ve learned to work through that point and, mostly, to complete the work. I’ve learned by experience and perseverance that I can produce art I’m happy with.
I’m not at all sure of that with this art journal type stuff. I’m not sure at all if I can find my own creative ‘voice’ with this, or whether I have to accept that as much as I’d like it to be one of my ‘things’ it’s not meant to be and that I can continue to watch and admire others for what they create.
Maybe, I’ll end up making digital elements for journals for others to use in their creations. Maybe, I’ll find that collections of inchies are my thing (along with twinchies and tea cards and other little designs).
For now, I’ll take a bit of a break from it all, and come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.
I’ve had a busy day today. It started with therapy late this morning. Then, I took myself off to the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne for a walk and to look at, photo and draw some flora and foliage. I must admit I took more photos than I made sketches.
If you’d like to read more about my trip then please visit Curious Stops and Tea Shops, my other blog which is all about my trips out and about.
I have been working on this artwork where I’m working on a dark background with a soft pastel type effect upon it.
The colours are a lot brighter on my monitor than on wordpress. However, I’m sure you’ll get the idea. I like the floaty, fuzzy, ethereal feel the soft edged ‘pastels’ give the art. I also like the way I can get colours to glow against each other – very coral reef I think.
I’m still finding my way through this way of working. I’m not sure that it really is ‘me’; part of me thinks that it’s quite childish. I will persevere though and see where it leads me.