Vacation in the Mountians

I promise: I’ve not been ignoring you, I’ve been without cellphone service and internet since Monday, due to vacationing. I knew my rental was without service and internet, however I woul never have suspected that all surrounding towns would be void of cell phone towers and free wifi. Actually, there’s plenty of free internet—before noon. We’re visiting an area off-season, so all of the restaurants are closed after lunch. Unfortunately, it’s upon rare occasion that I can muster the discipline to vacate my bed before 11 am, and the label of vacation makes that mustering feel far less necessary. Thankfully, the husband and I discovered a cafe with free internet last night, a whole 15 mintues before it closed at 4:30 pm (what even is that?!), and he was kind enough to bring me back so that I could share a few pictures with you! The following images are of art and art journal pages that are in process, created this week as we drove state-to-state and during our stay in the mountians! 

Road Journaling, Purple Eyes, Work in Progress 1

Road Journaling, Bohemia, Work in Progress 1

 

While on the road, I brought a regular Art Plus moleskine, some Copic markers, four different black technical pens, a drafting pencil, a white gel pen, and my Mermaid Markers. I sketched some of the things we saw on our trip that first day, but ultimately disliked all of my sketches, and decided to cover them with marker ink. While sitting in a passenger seat for several hours, my art muscle started to twitch, and I began doodling on these same pages with my technical pens. Once we got to a hotel, I threw some acrylic paint on these pages, with the goal of doodling even in these newly created spaces. In the photos below, you can see the evolution of the above moleskine pages!

Road Journaling, Purple Eyes, Work in Progress 2

Road Journaling, Bohemia, Work in Progress 2


By Monday, I was ready to make some real art, and decided to use my Jane Davenport watercolor palettes, chosen for their travel ability and color choice. Unfortunately, I only have one photo with me of one of three watercolor painings that I started, but some art is better than no art, right?!

Watercolor Half Portrait, Work in Progress

 

I’ll try to keep you updated, and will be returning to my usual schedule next week. Until we speak again: happy arting!

Freebies & Review: Mermaid Markers

In yesterday’s post, I very quickly discussed my use of Jane Davenport’s Mermaid Markers, an art supply that debuted with her 2016 collection. This collection is exclusive to the craft store Micheal’s and Jane Davenport’s website. It features arts and crafts supplies, such as watercolors, paint pens, colored pencils, and acrylic paints, as well as an array of sketchbooks and books with elastic bands that hold inserts, “Butterfly Books”, which are fairly similar to the Midori traveler’s notebooks. The supplies that I was most interested to get my hands on were the Mermaid Markers, which are waterbrushes filled with water-soluble dye based ink. (I also own the empty waterbrushes included in the collection, and the watercolor palettes; both of those supplies are ah-may-zing.)

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Used Mermaid Markers in the Manufacture’s Packaging

When you first get these markers, you will notice a lime green ring around the base of the lid. You must unscrew and take apart each Mermaid Marker to remove this ring. Once that ring is removed, you then screw the markers back together. After you do this, the seals have been broken, and the inks will be able to flow into the brush tips. I have done this with other supplies, so I didn’t immediately read the loose leaf instructions included in the box. However, I’m glad that I gave them a second look, because these instructions also give some facts about the markers. This paper states that the ink in Mermaid Markers is not lightfast (will fade if exposed to sunlight) and the markers must be stored upright to avoid leaking. Mermaid Markers come in a plastic box that can be closed, making it a fine place for future storage—as long as you don’t just toss the box into a drawer. These supplies are too expensive to lose even a little bit of ink due to negligence!

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Mermaid Markers with Insert Visible from Back of Packaging

My first impression upon opening and using these Mermaid Markers went like this:
These colors are phenomenal!
Forty dollars is a lot of money, but I’m definitely going to use these up, so it’ll be worth it!
What is this piece of paper folded up in the box?
Oh, these are not lightfast. Well that stinks.
And I have to store them upright? Goodbye more desk space.
Okay lets use them…
WHOA! THESE COLORS ARE PHENOMENAL!

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Mermaid Marker Swatches on 67 lb Bristol Paper, Unaltered Colors from Scan

The body of each Mermaid Marker is made of clear soft plastic, with the word “PUSH” on the barrels. Because the liquid must move from barrel to tip with some resistance (or else it would just all pour out), the user must squeeze the body of the marker to make the ink flow; there is really no way to know exactly how hard to squeeze when your bristles start to dry out, so this will be a learning experience. Some Mermaid Markers require more or less pressure to saturate the tip. When working with the Mermaid Markers, you may want a piece of scrap paper to wipe excess ink onto; I did feel like this was wasteful but necessary.

MERMAID MARKER REVIEW EMK WRIGHT WWWDOTMADEBYEMKDOTCOM NO AFFILIATION WITH JANE DAVENPORT OR MERMAID MARKER RELATED PRODUCTS (7)

Closeup of Mermaid Marker Barrels, “PUSH” Seen

As you can see, I found a few pros and cons with these markers, and the majority of the pros are 1) the colors are gorgeous, and 2) I like the novelty of them. Having to store the markers outside of my pen/marker cubby is a con to me, as I already hoard far too much on my desk (and I’m clumsy); it’s not a huge problem, but I sincerely recommend that you store the Mermaid Markers in their original packaging, because they will leak if stored horizontally. However, the versatility of these markers and their ability to travel easily is what makes them worthwhile for me.

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Rough Sketches Colored with Mermaid Markers

Below is a concise list of what I feel are the great and not-so-great things about the Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers.

Great: The colors are vibrant, the ink is reactive to water, there are a wide range of colors, the inks are blend-able, the markers are good for travel, and the pens are refillable when empty. Not-so-great: The pens must be stored upright, the ink is NOT lightfast (i.e. not professional quality), they do not layer because they reactivate each other, you cannot refill them with the original ink as it is not available, and it is difficult to control how much ink flows out when squeezing the barrel. I suppose my biggest complaint is that I can’t be rough with these markers, like thoughtlessly tossing them into my bag, but this may be a nonissue for most.

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Closeup of Brush Tips Found on Mermaid Markers 

I’ve seen other artists use empty waterbrushes as travel friendly brush markers, which have been filled with said artist’s favorite ink. Though I have personally never done this, I do have some experience with similar supplies. Years ago, I was gifted a set of Bienfang brand watercolor brushes—which are almost identical to the Mermaid Markers in build and ability—but have not thoughtfully used them. I have found other reviews online (like this one) which claim that Bienfang’s watercolor brushes are lightfast…or at least close to it. If this is true, I may prefer the Bienfang markers for their professional quality. My Bienfang watercolor brushes are still in working condition, and while I found the colors to be far less vibrant than the Mermaid Markers’ colors, I was not displeased by their ability when comparing the two. Unlike the Mermaid Markers, the Bienfang watercolor brushes are not clear, so one can never be certain when the ink has run out—but a quick shake told me that my Bienfang markers still had some ink in them. Compared to the $39.99 price tag of the Mermaid Markers, I was able to find the Bienfang’s watercolor brushes for about $25 on Amazon, containing just one less color than the Jane Davenport’s version. However, the Bienfang 12 Set includes an empty waterbrush. During my play with the Mermaid Markers, I continuously grabbed for a waterbrush to use with them, so the empty waterbrush is a welcome inclusion!

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Mermaid Markers and Bienfanger Markers on 140 lb Watercolor Paper, Swatched Side-By-Side

If you are unable to get to a Micheal’s craft store (or, more likely, don’t want to shell out the cash for Mermaid Markers), I found it surprisingly easy to find similar items online. Amazon provided me with a few different products, including watercolor brushes by companies that I have never heard of. That being said, Jane Davenport’s Mermaid Markers are a product of American Crafts, which is an art supply company that I have never before purchased from, and—so far—I cannot complain about their quality.

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Mermaid Marker “Siren” Color as Seen Used on “Our Wilderness” Art Journal Spread

I recommend these Mermaid Markers for their intended buyers: crafters, art journalers, and watercolor fanatics. However, if you are a professional artist who sells originals, then you may want to stay away due to the ink not being lightfast. If you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit sad that these markers are not professional quality, as I like to imagine my work surviving me. I’m very conscious of the supplies that I use when creating for-sale pieces, so I would know not to grab these markers for a commissioned piece. However, you could still (and should!) use the Mermaid Markers for pieces that will be scanned and sold as prints. Please note that the Jane Davenport watercolor palettes, “Petite Palettes,” are made with pigments, lightfast, and professional quality. Petite Palettes seen below.

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EmK’s Collection of Jane Davenport Art Supplies

Now, beyond the review, let me please tell you that I adore Jane Davenport! She is bubbly, and thoughtful, empowering, and an absolute art journaling goddess! Jane has a YouTube channel full of Vlogs, art making, and info about her online classes. She also blogs on her website, which is also you can find art tips, her courses, and art supplies for purchase. She’s an expert at drawing beautiful female faces, and even has a how-to book called (imagine this) Beautiful Faces.

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Sketch on 140 lb Watercolor Paper, Colored with Mermaid Markers and Waterbrush

Because it is Freebie Wednesday (Thursday, actually), I am happily sharing something that was inspired by the gorgeous bright and tropical colors of the Mermaid Markers. Today’s printable freebie is something that I created, printed, used, and immediately hung up on refrigerator. (I can actually hear you saying, “What is it, already?!” from the confines of my studio.) It is an all-in-one blank Tropical To-Do list that incorporates a grocery list, a place to write phone messages, a place to plan, and a splash of color! The colors of the Mermaid Markers immediately had me thinking tropical, so the theme of this week’s printable freebie is tropical fruit! You may have noticed some fruit in the little sketches that I colored in with the Mermaid Markers, seen in the 5th photo of this post. This edge-to-edge image is also available in a less saturated, ink-friendly version.

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Tropical To-Do Freebies Promo

The Tropical To-Do JPGs are HD and available as full page images. Just click the links below to print and/or download the JPGs! The only thing that I ask is that you not redistribute these freebies or claim an unaltered version as your own. You do not need to credit me if you use these freebies, but I definitely wouldn’t turn down a shout out!

Click links to print or save…
Tropical To-Do (Ink Friendly Version): JPG HERE!
Tropical To-Do (Regular Version): JPG HERE

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Tropical To-Do (Regular Version) In Use

NOTE: I don’t know how long the sale will last, but at the time of this post, the entire 2016 Jane Davenport Collection was on sale on the Micheal’s website. Mermaid Markers were on sale for $27.99—about $4 more than what they would be with Micheal’s 40% Off coupon, one of which is found every week on their website. This means that you can get Mermaid Markers for less than $40 online today, or for cheaper later if you have the 40% Off coupon handy.

 


Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase  the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership, without any extra cost to you. You support this blog and my ability to continue making awesome content through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) The Jane Davenport website, Michael’s website, and other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

Live Recap: Our Wilderness

After an accidental two week long hiatus from this blog, I’m returning to you with a bombardment of posts! Hurrah for filling up you email/blog feed with artsy goodness. (But my apologies for taking so long to get back to you.) Since I’ve been gone, I’ve been obsessively playing with my new Daniel Smith watercolors—a medium that just doesn’t fit among the pages of my art journals. With the holiday last Sunday, I also didn’t engage in a live stream, causing my only scheduled journaling time to be neglected. It’s rather difficult to post about art journaling when one is not art journaling. However, I did host a live stream this past Sunday, and the following photo is of the page that I began during that stream!

Our Wilderness Art Journal Spread copyright emk wright 2017 wwwdotmadebyemkdotcom (4)

“Our Wilderness” Work In Progress Art Journal Spread

Usually, my spread’s meanings are influenced by the imagery that I use and the color schemes that come about organically. However, this page was directly inspired by a single piece of collage imagery—a picture of two silhouettes at the edge of a canyon, looking out into the long stretch of stone. You see, the husband and I are going on vacation soon, and I have reserved us a stay in an isolated yurt among the mountains of a faraway state; it’s no wonder an image of a couple in the wilderness would speak to me on the cusp of our private adventure! The natural colors of the landscape determined my color choices as well, a collection of browns and greens. It’s a combination that I may not have otherwise used. The following photo is of this spread, after about two days of work, as I struggled to get myself away from watercolors and into an art journaling head-space.

Our Wilderness Art Journal Spread copyright emk wright 2017 wwwdotmadebyemkdotcom (5)

“Our Wilderness” Completed Art Journal Spread

I was able to test out a few new supplies in this spread, including the Mermaid Markers from the new Jane Davenport series. The colors used in this spread include “Seaweed,” “Siren,” and “Reef,” which are two green colors and a brown. The set of Mermaid Markers includes a piece of paper that discuss the contents of the brush markers, stating that the ink is a dye base (rather than pigment) and are not lightfast. While I have no issue using products that are not lightfast within the confines of my journal pages, it was a little disheartening to see that the markers—which cost over $3 a piece at $40 for 12—cannot be used in any for-sale artwork due to not being lightfast. Please note that this is not something stated on the exterior of the packaging, and—at the time of this post being published—not disclosed on the two exclusive websites that sell the product. The “Siren” color can be seen in the photo below, used to outline the silhouettes in the collage imagery.

“Our Wilderness” Closeup of Left Bottom

Like some of my other liquid ink markers, the colorants in the Mermaid Markers bled up through the acrylic paints applied over top of the marks even though the marks were dry. In this case, the acrylic paint that I used was the Liquitex Professional white gesso, so I feel very confident in saying that only a very thick coat of paint would be able to hide the marks made by these markers. Although I wouldn’t call this a “con,” as it could be used very effectively as a base layer beneath gesso and paint, it’s definitely not a “pro” when it happens unexpectedly. I will, however, be playing with the Mermaid Markers quite a bit, especially during my vacation, as they are wonderfully portable colorants and complement my current infatuation with watercolor. You can see the bleed-though of the “Siren” color in the white icicle shapes in bottom right corner of the image below.

Our Wilderness Art Journal Spread copyright emk wright 2017 wwwdotmadebyemkdotcom (2)

Our Wilderness” Closeup of  Right Bottom

I didn’t mean to neglect my blog duties, and even though this post is coming out Wednesday evening instead of Monday day, I want you to know that Wednesday’s usual Freebie post will still be coming out this week, just a day late! I sincerely thank you for sticking around while I found my footing earlier this month, and want to remind you: I will be streaming every Sunday at 8 pm EST on my Instagram, working in my art journal for all to see! I hope that you can join me sometime, and I especially hope that you’ll be making art with me, chatting about how awesome art journaling is, and letting me know if you have any questions about the many art supplies that I seem to be hoarding. Also, feel free to drop me a line by commenting here on the blog with any questions—or just to say hi!

 


Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase  the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership, without any extra cost to you. You support this blog and my ability to continue making awesome content through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) The Jane Davenport website and all other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

Watercolors: Using Tubes & Picking Paper

A while ago, I wrote a post on the entire collection of Prima brand Watercolor Confections, which is an awesome set of inexpensive pan watercolors. But while those cute little sets may be convenient and economical, sometimes you just want to play with the nice stuff—specifically, tube watercolors. My very first set of tube watercolors were the Winsor and Newton professional series, a small collection that I have been adding to and replacing for years. Before using professional watercolors, I had always preferred water soluble supplies, such as Neo Color 2 pastels and watercolor pencils. These types of supplies guaranteed a vibrancy that I did not trust from the less expensive pan watercolor sets. However, using tube watercolors is an entirely different experience!

Tubed Watercolors Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (7).jpg

Watercolor Swatches on Bristol Paper with Mixing Palette

While a set of 12 Prima brand half-pans of watercolor can cost somewhere around $18, a single tube of Winsor & Newton professional watercolor is usually about $12. However: 1) a tube equals out to about 2 and a 1/3 half pans, 2) has a much smoother consistency, and 3) is much easier to use in order to mix your own colors. I also trust Winsor & Newton professional colors to be truly lightfast and hold their color for much longer than inexpensive pan colors. If you wanted to mix your own colors and fill up 12 half pans, you’d probably spend about $60, but the beauty of tube watercolors is that you don’t have to fill those pans with only 12 colors; mixing from tubes means consistent colors with no limitation of how many colors you can create! Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend buying more than $35 worth of tube watercolors for your first haul, anyway! Three brushes and three tubes of paint in the primary colors will easily get you started! Just remember to use watercolor brushes for watercolors only!

Tubed Watercolors Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (1)

Winsor & Newton Cotman Paintbrushes

I  believe the number one reason why people are afraid of using watercolors is because of the appearance of watercolor paper. When I was younger, I used to hate watercolors simply because every piece of watercolor paper that I owned was so heavily textured. Textured watercolor paper, i.e. cold press paper, is often the only paper presented to us when we are first introduced to watercolor. If someone had told me that other options existed, I would’ve picked up watercoloring far more quickly! If you’re like how I was, please try hot press watercolor paper; hot press paper is smooth, untextured paper made specifically to hold wet mediums without warping! The image below shows cold press paper (top) next to hot press paper (bottom), and the lack of texture is obvious!

Tubed Watercolors Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (5)

Legion Brand Stonehenge Cold and Hot Press Watercolor Papers

Because I am so keen on art journaling, I find using bound watercolor sketchbooks for my watercoloring to be more enticing. It is difficult to find bound watercolor sketchbooks with anything but cold pressed paper, but I’ve gotten used to the texture after years of play. My watercolor sketchbook of choice is the “large” Moleskine watercolor sketchbook. Of course, you can’t confine everything to 5″ by 8″, so I do keep hot press paper around for larger projects. I’ve recently been using a heavy 140 lbs paper by Fabriano, which is a hot press paper and keeps my paints looking vibrant. (Yes, hot press paper causes your paint to dry more vibrantly!) The third paper that I will use with watercoloring is a very inexpensive Bristol paper. This Bristol paper is thin, but is great for rough drafts. This Bristol paper is made to be printed on, making it great for uses like the swatching grid in the first image of this post.

Tubed Watercolors Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (6)

Watercolor Moleskine Sketchbook, Fabriano Hot Press Paper Pad, Loose Bristol Paper

Because you can squeeze tube watercolors into pans, they can be just as portable as pre-panned sets! The only difference between tube watercolors and pre-panned watercolors is more ingredients (usually glycerin or Arabic gum) added to keep tube colors moist. And it’s not usually enough to notice. After panning many paints, I’ve noticed some staying wetter for longer, but it’s nothing that unnerves me. (I’ve found empty half pans to be inexpensive online, but I recommend checking your local store first, as it’s an item that has a strangely varied price.) As long as we’re talking portability, lets hit upon waterbrushes quickly! I own watercolor brushes, including those made by Ranger, Kuretake, and the new Jane Davenport set. Don’t let anyone fool you—they’re all pretty much the same! I’ve never had an issue with leaking, and keep water in all of my brushes almost constantly. If you’d like to get one, try for a medium round tip waterbrush before investing in other shapes and sizes.

Tubed Watercolors Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (2)

Waterbrushes, L to R: J. Davenport 2 set, Ranger Medium Flat, Kuretake Small & Medium Round

Now, it IS Freebie Wednesday, so I do have some goodies for you! For today’s post about watercolors, I’m providing you with two different printables! The first item is your own swatching page, exactly like the one pictured in the first photo in this post. If you want to print this out and use it as is, it’s best to be printed onto thicker paper, like cardstock or watercolor paper. The next freebie for this week is a page of watercolor abstracts. These abstracts were originally painted with Winsor & Newton tube watercolors onto hot press paper; their saturation has been barely altered digitally, so you can see how gorgeous these colors are. They have been rearranged into rows for easy use in mixed media and collage! They are HD images available as full page PDFs. Just click the links below to print and/or download the PDFs! The only thing that I ask is that you not redistribute these freebies or claim an unaltered version as your own. You do not need to credit me if you use these freebies in your art, but I definitely wouldn’t turn down a shout out!

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Click links to download…
Watercolor Swatch Grid: PDF Here
Watercolor Abstracts: PDF Here

Below, you’ll find some more images of watercolor painting in which I’ve used tube watercolors. These images all portray a mix of multiple colors that have also been layered in order to produce a variety of hues! All three of these paintings were produced in my watercolor Moleskine sketchbook.

Tubed Watercolors Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (3)

Tubed Watercolors Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (4)

Tubed Watercolors Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk

Feel free to leave me any questions about this post in the comments below! Happy painting!

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase  the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership, without any extra cost to you. You support this blog and my ability to continue making awesome content through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) All other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience

Live Recap: Helix Vision & Messy Pages

I don’t know about you, but I’m an online art class lover. In the past, I have purchased classes from Connie Solera, Tamara LaporteRoxanne Coble, and Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd. They’re all amazing, by the way. But this week, I have been having a BLAST participating in the newest art journaling class over at Get Messy! The website just released a course called Messy Pages (in the Classes tab located at the top of the GM site) by the incredibly talented Tanyalee Kahler. Tanyalee has been an inspiration to me since I joined Get Messy last year, where she was a Creative Team member.  (Her blog is also place of painty goodness.) So I thought that, for this week’s Instagram Live Stream, I would open my hour long stream by working on top of a background that was created using a technique inspired by Messy Pages! The image below is how my spread looked immediately before my live stream.

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“Helix Vision” Art Journal Spread Background, Created with Messy Pages Class

This is only similar to how I usually begin my altered book spreads in that the background is a combination of acrylic paints. I usually use acrylics in my altered book for their opacity, as there are many elements on a spread that I may want to cover—such as text and page numbers. Because this background was so thick with paint, I gave it about two hours to dry before going live. During the stream, I began working over top my pages in the usual way, applying more paint, marking with pens, and drawing with markers. I was able to accomplish a surprising amount of work in the hour-long stream! Had I not had plans on how I wanted my spread to end up, I could have happily called these pages finished after the stream! The image below shows how the spread appeared at the end of this week’s stream.

“Helix Vision” Work in Progress

As you can see, the bottom right corner of the spread seems empty (by my usual standards), and the imagery left from the original spread (a series of eyes) don’t exactly command the attention for which I’d hope. However, I did love how the yellow and white KRINK brand solid paint sticks marked on top of the matte black gesso; they gave the effect of chalk on a blackboard! The scribbles and X’s and O’s were my favorite part of the page, and I didn’t want to lose that look, but I was willing to sacrifice some of it in order to bring attention to my focal point.  In the image below, you can see that this spread boasts no empty spaces and now guides the eye to the center of the page.

“Helix Vision” Completed Art Journal Spread

I hadn’t planned on incorporating any more techniques from Messy Pages, but I pulled some inspiration from the class and applied it to the once empty corner. Here, I covered some collage material that ended up muddied, making it unrecognizable as imagery for the finished spread. Because of this, I knew that I wanted something else to pop in that space, and I brought in some imagery that I had originally created in another spread, In this area, I also decided to reintroduce gold, which I had used on a whim during the live stream. I’m not a huge fan of metallic, due to it’s inability to photograph, but the contrast of metallic on matte black is something that I’ve been playing around with since the creation of my “Fabulous Faces” spread, created during Get Messy’s last season, Art 101. Its one of my new favorite techniques, something that I discovered when playing with the paints that came in my set of neutral matte paints by Dick Blick.

“Helix Vision” Closeup of Bottom Right Corner

It’s only the first week of the Season of Contrast over at Get Messy, but I already feel like this season is going to be perfect for me! I cannot wait to share with you the spread that I’ll be posting here on Thursday; it’s so very different from my usual color palette—and I’m loving it! Of course, the hurricane of pink and yellow that’s found on this page is equally satisfyingly, especially layered over this background. I am having so much fun trying new things! Art journaling isn’t just about expressing myself with a paintbrush, it’s also about expanding my artistic arsenal, which is the number one reason why I find new art courses so exciting!

“Helix Vision” Closeup of Center

Hopefully, you were able to join me for this week’s live stream on my Instagram, but if you weren’t, fear not! I will be streaming every Sunday at 8 pm EST, working in my art journal for all to see! I hope that you can join me sometime, and I especially hope that you’ll be making art with me, chatting about how awesome art journaling is, and letting me know if you have any questions about the many art supplies that I seem to be hoarding. Also, feel free to drop me a line by commenting here on the blog with any questions—or just to say hi!


 

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership. You support this blog and my ability to continue making awesome content through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) The Dick Blick website and all other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

Finished Spread: Overgrown

Today’s art journal spread came about in under 24 hours, which is quite a feat for me to accomplish in a space of 11″ x 19″! There are quite a few elements to this page that I’ve never created before, and are now happily added to my artistic arsenal! The color palette is one, but the use of a radiating ombré is really where I’ve taken notice. There are two places on this spread where this new technique has taken life, but the bottom right hand corner really commands my attention! In this same location, you may notice a faint pattern over top the oval shapes that decorate this ombré. Here, I have used a gloss black acrylic over matte black gesso—and I love the effect!

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“Overgrown” Art Journal Spread

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“Overgrown” Closeup of Bottom Right

Another place where I employed a new-to-me technique is the addition of a border. To keep with my style, this border is not only messy, but also full of details! Using a dip nib pen, I drew tiny bubbles along the edge of my spread with a Golden brand fluid acrylic. Afterwords, I sporadically filled in some of those bubbles with the ink that was used to paint my florals; I also returned to this border with some of the background color, a pastel green, to make a few of these bubbles contrast against the pink! I’ve never been happy with the borders that I’ve attempted to employ on my pages, but I might be giving this messy boarder a new part-time job!

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“Overgrown” Closeup of Bottom Left Corner

I don’t know how it’s happened, but somehow I’m allowing florals to slip onto my journal pages. It’s a bit strange for me, but I’m not at all averse to this spread! The flowers shown here are made from loose strokes of a color mixed from white fluid acrylic paint and bright red India ink—and it was fun to play with this combination of mediums. That being said, if you’d also like to try out this mixture of wet mediums, be sure to give yourself plenty of drying time and use a technique to keep your pages from sticking together, because these florals are super glossy!

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“Overgrown” Closeup of Left Page

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing something different from me today!

P.S. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of this blog! What?!

Crystals & Freebies

Do you ever find yourself returning to a certain image, not because it means anything special to you, not because it’s easy to draw, not because you’ve somehow amassed a collection of it from thin air, but for reasons that you cant explain? Do you doodle it on post-it notes and in the margins of your notebooks, letting your mind idle and your pen move freely in shapes it’s made a hundred times before? Of course you do! I know I do, and while I have about three or four of those types of images, I’m here to share just one with you today: crystal clusters.

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Crystal Cluster Doodles in an Art Journal Spread

Crystals clusters can be tricky, because a a crystalline structure requires straight lines and doesn’t respond kindly to shaky hands. For art journaling and other mixed media works, attempting to create perfect lines over layers of thick paint and overlapping mediums can be a nearly impossible feat. One way that I avoid this issue is to create a simple digital line drawing that I can then print out onto thick paper or card stock. Bristol paper can take a thin layer of watercolor especially nicely, and is available in reams sold with printer paper. Vellum Bristol (in 67 lb) is my  go-to for the printed imagery that I use in my mixed media projects! In the image below, you can see two instances in which I’ve used a crystal cluster as the focal imagery of art journal spreads.

crystal clusters in art journaling www.madebyemk.com copyright emk wright 2017 (2).jpeg

Crystal Clusters as Focal Imagery in Art Journal Spreads

In the journal shown above, the red and orange crystals were originally created digitally, whereas the green and yellow clusters were had drawn. The difference in line definition is obvious. For the digital line work, I found it was fairly quick to create, cut out, and adhere in my journal spread. While I often reach for a straight edge when adding large crystals to the pages of my journal, I appreciate the crispness of straight lines that can only be rendered digitally. On occasion, I have also colored these crystals digitally. The image below consists of the same line drawing shown in the orange and red spread above. This version has be altered to include art journal spreads as the coloring of the crystals—which I’m thinking might eventually turn into stickers! This shows you how very different the same line drawing can appear approached as either digital art (below), or as a physical image incorporated into mixed media (above).

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Digital Drawing of Crystal Cluster

Would you like to try your hand at using digital line art in your mixed media? I find it relaxing to use imagery that has either been digitally created or is from a photograph; altering these types of images makes them uniquely mine, but are also far less frustrating to botch an image like this than one drawn from scratch! I hope that some of you try your hand at crystal drawing, but because it’s Freebie Wednesday, I”m also sharing some digital line work with you for you to use in your own mixed media artwork! The picture below portrays line work from the PDF that I’m giving you this week, containing digital illustrations of crystals and crystal clusters, which drawn specifically for you!

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Preview of Crystal Clusters Freebies

These are HD images are available as a full page PDF file. I advocate using this line works as collage material for your own arty goodness!! Just click the link below to print and/or download the PDF! You can print them out and alter them and collage them into your art! Just get creative and have fun. The only thing that I ask is that you not redistribute these freebies or claim an unaltered version as your own. You do not need to credit me if you use these freebies in your art, but I definitely wouldn’t turn down a shout out!

Click link to download…
Crystals & Crystal Clusters: PDF HERE

This is the third Freebie Wednesday here at Made By EmK. Checkout previous posts for more freebies, like last week’s post about  Bottled Ink !

 

Live Recap: Celebration

The live stream from yesterday (3/26/2017) produced a barely complete spread—but today I was able to totally finish the large spread in my altered book…it took a bit longer than expected. (Forgive the late post, dear artsy friends, but the paint was louder than the computer, and the blog was neglected.) However, I am so glad to say that this spread came out far better than expected, and it was one for which I can be proud! This spread of bright pinks and chocolate browns is chock full of layers and happy thoughts. It’s titled: Celebration. Below is the way that this spread appeared at the end of my Instagram live stream.

CELEBRATION ART JOURNAL SPREAD WWW.MADEBYEMK.COM COPYRIGHT EMK WRIGHT.jpg

“Celebration” Art Journal Page, Work in Progress

It began with one page painted pink, and one page painted brown. After the acrylics were dry, I went to town with more matte acrylics, irredescent paint, and collage material! There were two things that I had in mind when I began the is spread, one being a hanging banner with triangular flags, the other being Neapolitan ice cream; these were items that I saw yesterday which cause me to think, that would be good for journal fodder! I don’t frequently have this thought, so both items stayed on my mind until paint was put to paper. It’s spread like this one which perfectly embody’s Picasso’s quote “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”

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“Celebration” Completed Art Journal Page

For my hanging flag, I chose a large page from my designated book of collage material, Extreme Adventure (2014), painted it with the Golden brand acrylic paint in Interference Violet that I’ve come to love, and chopped them into neat triangles. The collage material already contained hues of pinks, so I knew a thin layer of the transparent violet interference paint would be a good combination. Layering gold, white, and fluorescent pink paint on and around the flags gave them some definition, and keeping the imagery on a neutral background of light gray allowed for the shapes to stay obvious.

 

CELEBRATION ART JOURNAL SPREAD WWW.MADEBYEMK.COM COPYRIGHT EMK WRIGHT (8)

“Celebration” Completed, Golden Interference Violet Acrylic Paint

I choose some other collage material, but ended up tossing it aside this morning the more that I worked on this art journal spread. It was a good jumping off point, which helped move my hand painted imagery along, but seemed to not work with my spread the longer that I worked on it. It’s a good lesson, however, to appreciated the things that inspire you without the need to take them so literally. This is often also how I approach journal prompts as well, taking them with a grain of salt, appreciating the inspiration that they provide, and then letting them escape me once their job is done. Even though I did not choose to use my collage material, I was not without imagery! As seen below, the item which inspired my color scheme also ended up inspiring my main imagery: ice cream! Very fitting for a journal spread, as it’s my biggest weakness.

CELEBRATION ART JOURNAL SPREAD WWW.MADEBYEMK.COM COPYRIGHT EMK WRIGHT.jpeg

“Celebration” Completed, Closeup of Left Page

Because I was working in an altered book format, I was able to use some of the imagery already printed on the page—as seen in the photo below. It portrayed the silhouettes of three individuals waiting at a pier, but was altered in order to show only the shapes of the individuals and a poster seen in the background. I love silhouettes, because viewers can understand a representation of human existence, while still providing an element of personal interpretation. I enjoy blending specifics, like shapes, with ambiguity and anonymity. Another great example of this is the illegible cursive writing found on the majority of my spreads; this can also be seen below.

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“Celebration” Completed, Closeup of Right Page 

Hopefully, you were able to join me for this week’s live stream on my Instagram, but if you weren’t, fear not! I will be streaming every Sunday at 8 pm EST, working in my art journal for all to see! I hope that you can join me sometime, and I especially hope that you’ll be making art with me, chatting about how awesome art journaling is, and letting me know if you have any questions about the many art supplies that I seem to be hoarding. Also, feel free to drop me a line by commenting here on the blog with any questions—or just to say hi!

 


 

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership. You support this blog and my ability to continue making art through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) The Art Snacks website and all other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

Live Recap: Violet Desert

This week, my Instagram live stream session was number 5, and to be honest, I cannot believe that I have been live streaming once a week for over a month! Time flies when you’re making art! This hour-long stream consisted on working in my pocket sized Molskine, and was just as productive as last week’s session! I was able to start an art journal spread, add imagery to the pages, and get a pretty awesome dialogue going with this stream’s participants. I continued to work on the spread beyond Instagram’s limit of one hour, but the image below shows the progress from an uninteresting orange background to an art journal spread with some real personality! The image below is a picture of how my spread looked immediately after the live stream.

Violet Desert Art Journal Spread Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (1).jpeg

“Violet Desert” Art Journal Spread, Work in Progress

 

As you can see, I was able to alter just some of my collage material during the stream. The cliff, seen on the right page, was slightly altered; however, the matte gel medium used to attach the tree on the left page was still in the process of drying by the time the live stream was over. I discussed my process of using this medium in the live stream, and wanted to share this helpful hint with you as well: if your collage material overlaps beyond the page, wait until the excess paper is completely dry before snipping it away. Giving your collage material extra time to dry is the best way to guarantee clean edges when cutting your paper. Gel medium drys quickly on the exterior but can cause paper to be moist beneath the surface even if it looks and feels dry! The sharpest of scissors will not be able to cleanly cut damp paper, so it’s best to wait until you can be sure the paper is dry all the way through.

 

Violet Desert Art Journal Spread Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (2).jpg

“Violet Desert” Art Journal Page, Completed

The creation of this spread was completely unplanned, but the color scheme that I chose for this spread ended up including violet—which was quite lucky for me due to the newest art supplies that I purchased earlier this week! One of my newest items is a Golden brand fluid acrylic paint, the color Interference Violet. The interference paints are not like any that I have ever used before! The paint is a very transparent white with incredibly fine speckles of colored metallic pigment. Depending on the light, the paint can appear as an opaque metallic or a gloss varnish filled with tiny pieces of colored shimmer. It’s a little flashy and adds a really unique effect to the page. Note: A little goes a long way!

Violet Desert Art Journal Spread Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk (1)

“Violet Desert” Completed, Closeup of Left

The collage material for this page was chosen during the live stream session, which came from the book Extreme Adventures (2014), a 240 page full color photography book that displays images of unique locations and exotic animals. I found my copy new for about $7 in a discount store, and purchased it specifically for the purpose of using the imagery as collage material. (At the time of writing this, I found it to be available on Amazon.com for about $6 used with free shipping.) I so recommend using inexpensive coffee table books for their imagery. The pages of these books are thick and the imagery is often perfect for collage!

Violet Desert Art Journal Spread Copyright EmK Wright 2017 www.madebyemk.jpeg

“Violet Desert” Completed, Closeup of Right

Hopefully, you were able to join me for this week’s live stream, but if you weren’t, fear not! I will be streaming every Sunday at 8 pm EST, working in my art journal for all to see! I hope that you can join me sometime, and I especially hope that you’ll be making art with me, chatting about how awesome art journaling is, and letting me know if you have any questions about the many art supplies that I seem to be hoarding. Also, feel free to drop me a line by commenting here on the blog with any questions—or just to say hi!

 


 

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership. You support this blog and my ability to continue making art through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) The Art Snacks website and all other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

Finished Spread: Radioactive

This spread was created an in an altered book, Odysseys and Photographs (2007), and was specifically produced onto these pages due to the unsettling imagery that was already printed on the spread. Somehow these images, unaltered and bizarre, seemed to speak to me in a time of frustration. The photos on these pages originally displayed a restrained lab mouse being injected with a steel syringe, and a man controlling a robotic arm in order to place makeup onto a subject’s face—strange, right?  I took the liberty of adding my own peculiar imagery, paired with a color palette inspired by the word visible on that syringe: radioactive. Though it may appear a bit eerie, I actually really like how the spread turned out!

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (1).jpg

“Radioactive” Art Journal Spread

As I’ve mentioned before, I often find that my art journal spreads are more chaotic and detailed whenever I create while angered or distressed. These types of emotions affect me strongly, but I am also able to pour out frustrations onto a journal spread more easily. It’s therapeutic for me, almost as if I’m removing the negativity—piece by piece—with every stroke and line. This spread has been halfway finished since the end of last year, but I somehow found the inspiration to complete it. I began this spread when I was overwhelmed by some feelings of anger, and the subject matter definitely does not hide this!

 

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (3)

Radioactive” Closeup, Left

Although this spread may not depict the most cheerful of illustrations, I was honestly pleased with line work that I created when drawing these skulls. These illustrations are studies of northern american rodent skulls, sketched with a soft lead (Faber Castell 8B lead, jumbo) and inked with a black brush pen (Kuretake No. 7). The original drawings were found in a vintage nature book, a gift to me, and my attempt at replicating them was almost perfect! I’m slowly advancing my drawing skills, and am always delighted whenever I discover that I’m making progress.

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (4)

“Radioactive” Closeup, Right Top

This spread was started in order to deal with intense negative feelings, but I was able to achieve a sense of accomplishment for the illustrations! The positive feeling of success in my abilities as an artist outweighed my anger. Although I don’t like to leave art journal spreads unfinished, my change in disposition was probably why I was able to close the book on this spread for so long. Creating in my art journal is always such a positive experience for me, and it’s one of the reasons that I love to share this niche hobby with others! I promise you, I haven’t been keeping an art journal for 13 years without benefiting from doing so!

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (2)

“Radioactive” Closeup, Right Bottom

This journal spread might be finished, but there are about 10 more in this altered book that are only just started! I’ll be working on some of them this weekend, but I’ll definitely be starting a new art journal spread during my Instagram live stream on Sunday at 8 pm EST. If you’ve got the time, don’t forget to join me! Until then, feel free to drop me a line in the comments below!

 


 

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership. You support this blog and my ability to continue making art through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) All other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.