{S} Step-by-step: How to draw a whimsical face

whimsical_faceBack in 2014, when I first started art journaling, if someone had told me that I would be drawn to portraits, I would have laughed until my stomach hurt! Drawing and me just didn’t go hand-in-hand. And faces? Out of the question! I remember trying my hand at drawing funky flowers – which didn’t even have to look realistic! – and melting into a puddle of tears because I couldn’t even draw simple shapes like teardrops and leaves.

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{R} Rule of thirds: A brief introduction to composition

Rule of three: An odd number of hearts makes for a more effective spread than if there were 2 or 4.

Rule of three: An odd number of hearts makes for a more effective spread than if there were 2 or 4.

Composition – or how various elements are placed in a work of art – is key to the success of all visual arts. Being a photography enthusiast, I have an innate understanding of some of these rules {such as the rule of thirds}, but when it comes to art, I’ve had to be a little more deliberate about composition. More often than not, however, art journal spreads are not planned – we often wing it! And that’s when we stumble upon problems of achieving balance and white space, depth and an overall pleasing composition.

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{Q} Quill and ink: incorporating the written word in your art journal

Let’s switch our focus from art to writing today. We’ve covered a fair bit on the art aspect of art journals. But the other part of an art journal, is the journal, by which I mean writing.

There are many ways in which you can incorporate the written word in your spreads to give them even more meaning. You can start with a layer of writing – pen down your thoughts, confusion, doubt, gratitude – anything on the page and then cover it with paints and mediums. That’s certainly one way to go about it – and it is something that I do very often.

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{P} Paint over collage

Paint over collage is a very interesting technique – especially if you’re afraid to draw or are unsure about shading a face, for instance, and it yields some amazing results. The technique does take some practice, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really a lot of fun!

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{N} The art of non-attachment: an introduction to intuitive painting

For me when painting, I’m most successful when I let all organized thought go; my eyes blur, and my pen goes. Whatever odd words pass through my mind I place on the page, where the edge of a paint stain looks like an eye or and arm or a mouth I let it become that, regardless of the logical nature of the form.” – Leslie A. Brown (Painter)

So, just what is intuitive painting?

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{M} Make it simple: the beauty of simple line work in black and white

I love color – luscious blues, royal purples, lush pinks, the glint of metallic paint, a riot of colors, texture, shapes, layers. Surrounded by paints in a variety of hues, it’s easy to forget the basics – black and white; line, form and shape; light shading; the simplicity that can also create a huge impact.

Monocromatic art journal page

So here’s your challenge for today.  Pull out some paper, a black watersoluble pencil (sketch and wash charcoal pencil, Inktense pencil or watercolour pencil), and play with just this simple palette.

I chose to do a black and white portrait with a hint of color, but you can choose any subject of your choice.  Add some doodles, a few paint splatters, a quote – whatever suits your fancy. Just remember to keep the color palette black and white {maybe with a hint of color}.

And don’t forget to share your sketches/paintings with me!

{L} Creating layers in your art journal

I introduced you to layers in the lesson on backgrounds. But I know I didn’t give you enough information on just how to layer. For a long time even I was confused about the how and why of layering. After all, why would someone create a beautiful background and then cover it up? Isn’t it a waste of paint? And that beautiful stencil pattern and all those collage elements that will just get hidden?

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{K} Kintsugi: Adapting the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery to your {art} journal

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold or silver. As a philosophy, the belief is that the object is more valuable and beautiful with its history revealed.

But how can you adapt a pottery repair technique to your art journal?
By adapting Kintsugi as a transformative tool in your journal.

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{J} Let’s talk about journals

As you start to enjoy working on your art journal and experiment with building up layers, the paper you use plays a big role in just how far you can push your materials. To my mind, there are 2 key things you need to look out for when choosing a journal – the binding and the paper.

Let’s talk about binding
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