Mixed Media More: Collage

Introduction to Mixed Media More

Welcome to a new series in which I’m going to be (hopefully!) helping you make more art, specifically more mixed media art. As someone who is constantly mixing media—including collage, acrylic paint, and inks of all kinds—I’m in a situation where I have combined enough art supplies to be able to anticipate the reactions of different media when they are used together. Many people are comfortable with the concept of “mixed media,” i.e. using multiple different types of art supplies together, but recently I have noticed that even within the realm of mixed media there is a list of unspoken rules. We see watercolors coupled with colored pencils, acrylic paints used to accent marker art, and especially white gel pen ink highlighting almost any other medium…but why not more unconventional pairings? Mixed media should be far more liberating than this, allowing an artist to remove their barriers and be limited by their imagination rather than their supplies. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll look at your supplies with a little bit more imagination.

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Mixing It Up: Collage

Firstly, lets talk about the one supply everyone has right now in their home: collage material. It’s more than just magazine clippings: it’s your junk mail, your receipts, your ticket stumps, and your doodles. A lot of artists—especially art journaling artists—like collage because it allows non-drawers to incorporate imagery into their work and can be done quickly. It’s drying time is almost nonexistent, and allows busy artists to create on a time crunch. Many times we see art journal pages slathered with acrylic or watercolor paints, which is then layered up with collage material: heck I know I’ve done it a few times myself! But so many of us use this single formula, and call it a day. Why don’t we keep going? And what we would we do if we did in fact keep going? I recommend that you allow for your imagery to be apart of your art rather than to sit upon it.

5 Techniques For Collage

1. Use pens to accentuate lines. If your imagery is an animal or person, trace their facial features and the folds in clothes, or the textures in fur. Even non-drawers can be tracers, which might help to get you to the drawing stage of your art. The plus of this is that it lets you personalize an image without totally changing it

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2. Use your paint to recolor the image. You can paint parts of your imagery, or use the image to act as an underpainting for an entire new layer. If your imagery is a person, try giving them an acrylic makeover; if you imagery is a floral, give it an exotic flare. Even if you are using the same color that the imagery currently is, you can still add new texture with paint strokes.

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3. Dismember and replace! Instead of just cutting around the edges of your imagery, use those scissors to also dismember your imagery For example, remove the limbs of a model and draw them some new and more interesting ones! Remove the stem of your florals and let them grow from the new ones that you paint.

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4. Change the color of your imagery (I do this one A LOT!) Use transparent watercolors to tint the colors on your imagery, rather it be just one part of the imagery or the entire thing. You can also use pigmented India inks to wash your imagery in waterproof colors, which will not react with other supplies that you may then add on top of your collage material. If you use this technique on black and white photos, you can completely control the coloration, which is my preferred technique.

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5. Distress your collage. You can alter the entire style of your collage by warping it in water (let it dry before attaching!) and then using it in your art. You can also distress imagery by lightly sanding it with a fine sandpaper, scratching it with scissors, or muddying its appearance with coffee or tea. This looks especially good with imagery that is vintage or sepia toned, giving it an “old” feel.

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Bonus: Let it pop off the page, literally! There a two options for this technique: 1) only attach part of your collage material to the page, folding it to create a 3D effect, and 2) use small pieces of card board or foam board strategically under collage material, gluing the collage material to the cardboard pieces and the cardboard piece to the page. This technique can be somewhat difficult to accomplish without repercussions if used in a bound art journal and not a singular page or canvas, so be wise in your application.

More Information

Look out for the upcoming video, in which you’ll see me use all 5 of these techniques! I’ll show you my preferred way to arrange and glue the collage material down–which surprisingly comes in multiple steps–and how I tie in a background. Hopefully these tips get you arting! Let me know in the comments below if you have any tips of your own, or how these tips have inspired you!

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5 Ways To Beat “I Don’t Know What To Draw” Syndrome

1. Use your own photography as reference imagery.

What Is It? Most of us keep dozens—if not hundreds—of pictures stored away in our smart phones without ever doing much more with them besides flashing a few to a family member on holidays. Using your own photos for references are an amazing way to preserve your art as your own, and being able to continually enjoy the moments that may or may not end up stuffed away in a scrapbook. The greatest thing about this is that you can pull out the image anytime to start and stop drawing as you please. Plus: no copyright infringement!

How Will It Inspire Me? You usually only preserve images of the things that you love or find aesthetically pleasing, so picking even just one of your own pictures to draw should be especially easy. It’s also a great way to work on bettering your drawing of faces and the human form, as many of us photograph our loved ones on a regular basis.

What’s Next? 1) Choose another photo and draw some more! 2) Start taking more pictures with the intention of drawing the imagery. Who knows, you might even realize a love for photography!

Hint: Use the settings in your phone to disable automatic shut off so that you don’t have to keep taping the screen while you draw from your reference photo. Just make sure to re-enable it when you’re finished.

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2. Participate in #DrawThisInYourStyle.

What Is It? Draw this in your style is a trending online movement where artists post their own original content and characters, in hopes that other artists will love it so much that they too will want to recreate the content or character with their own twist. Currently, there are 200,000+ results on Instagram for #DrawThisInYourStyle, so there is plenty of content (and characters) to pick from! These artists are lending their creativity to you, so you’re free to do with it as you please

How Will It Inspire Me? This challenge lets you create without having to make hard decisions. Of course, the real fun is not in copying, but altering, which means that you can change poses or facial expressions, for example, without needing to have “big” ideas. Plus, it lets you connect with new artists, which is a pretty awesome bonus!

What’s Next? Why, create your own something for #DrawThisInYourStyle, of course!

3. Compose Your Own Still Life

What Is It? Still life consists of drawing or painting inanimate objects, most commonly associated with fruit or flowers. But it does not have to be fruit or flowers, of course, which means it could be literally anything laying around your house! Your favorite mug next to a knickknack next to a rock from your yard: draw it! A pillow under a novel under an ink pen: draw it! Still life drawings are more challenging than drawing your own photographed images because your perspective can change, the lighting can change, and you’ll never be able to assemble the objects in the exact same way, so choose this option carefully.

How Will It Inspire Me? Being able to choose the objects that you will find the easiest (or hardest) to draw means that you can make the experience as enjoyable as you please in a way that best fits you.

What’s Next? Change your perspective! Stand over the still life subject, go to the other side of it, or even just rearrange the objects. Fully understanding perspective is one of the hardest things about drawing, and you’re seriously improving your ability by drawing something from multiple angles.

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4. Re-Draw Your Own Art

What Is It? This idea is very similar to #DrawThisInYourStyle, but gives you a lot more control over the art that you’re creating. Because you are redrawing your own art, you may feel more comfortable with altering more of the content, as it is your original creation, after all. Not only that, but redrawing your own art makes the content more marketable, if you are in fact creating in order sell.

How Will It Inspire Me? Redrawing your own art tends to make an artist realize how much they’ve actually improved their artistic skills. You’ll not only be creating something, but also proving to yourself the time you’ve invested in your artistic ability hasn’t be for naught. You might also discover a new-found love for the original piece.

What’s Next? Once you’ve realized that your abilities have improved in some areas, you may find that some areas could still use a little work. Try focusing on these less improved areas, whether it be shading, individual facial features, or understanding of perspective. Dont be afraid to redraw something that you’ve already redrawn before!

5. Self Portrait

What Is It? A drawing of yourself! You are the perfect subject because you’ve been looking at the subject your entire life. You also have complete ability of posing your model and know just where to find them when the drawing mood strikes! Several artists are well known for self portraits, and all you require is a drawing utensil and a mirror.

How Will It Inspire Me? Although not every artist wants to draw people, understanding human anatomy and facial structure will lend itself to understanding anatomy of animals as well. That being said, a lot of artists lean toward human beings as their main subject matter, and knowing the simplest form of your face will be useful when drawing any face in general. Not only that, but hey look: you’re a model now!

What’s Next? Your face can make some really great (and bizarre) expressions, so why not try out a few? You don’t have to draw the whole face to draw stretched lips around a smile or scrunched up nose. Focus on doing a few different expressions and you’ll soon have an entire page for future references.

Self Portrait as a Painter

Self Portrait of a Painter, oil on canvas, 65.1 cm x 50 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Floral Tutorial & Freebies

It’s the very first FREEBIE WEDNESDAY, and I could not be more delighted to share what I have in store for you today! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw the hand drawn floral pattern that I shared last week. It was inspired by this Get Messy season, Art 101! Last week, my very first post and tutorial as a Creative Team member went live on the private site. (You can totally check out the site and see if you’d be interested in becoming a member by clicking HERE.) I was extremely excited to see what it would inspire throughout the Get Messy community!! The feedback and art that came out of it was 100% awesomeness! Because of all the pen play happening, I was inspired to create some florals as a simple and quick way to get my pen to paper. The result was unexpectedly beautiful! One flower became two, two became three, and suddenly I had filled an entire page with a gorgeous pattern!

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Partially Drawn Floral Pattern from 3/9/2017

If you look through my art, you’re bound to see a lot of abstract shapes, silhouettes, eyes, and animals, but I tend to steer clear of florals. While I find flowers lovely (there’s a fresh bouquet on my desk right now), they just don’t seem to be a good fit with the imagery that I usually produce. However, these roses are special to me. My grandmother was absolutely obsessed with roses, and taught me how to draw them at a very young age. This rose shape is very close to the way that my grandmother taught me, starting in the center and building petals outward with overlapping sections. The image below is a quick tutorial on how I draw these roses, even though—if we’re being honest—they look quite a bit more like begonias or carnations.

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4 Step Rose Drawing Tutorial

As you can see in the image below, I remark my lines two or three times so that there is more detail and character to each petal. This makes the edges of each petal appear folded and more natural. You’re more than welcome to try out this design and add it to your archive of floral drawing knowledge! Its just as easy as the simple daisy illustration that so many of us are guilty of doodling! It only took me about thirty minutes to fill an entire 8.5″ by 11″ page. The pen used, as seen below, was one that I received in my Art Snacks subscription box in July ’16. The fine tip, a 0.3 mm, and smooth gel ink  a pleasure to work with! It is the Pentel brand Arts® Hybrid Technica used on 67 lb vellum Bristol paper.

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Finished Floral Pattern from 3/9/2017

With the wonderful power of technology, I was able to color in the flowers with soft pink and purple hues and invert the line to whites. (This created a pattern that I liked so well it is now the wallpaper for my phone.) I also recolored the flowers with a more traditional red, and  then adjusted the hue to green, which made the flowers appear to be succulents.

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Preview of Rose Pattern Freebies

All three of these recolored patterns and the drawing in black and white are available to you for download for your personal use! They are HD images available as full page PDFs. I advocate using them as collage material for your own arty goodness!! Just click the links below to print and/or download the PDFs! You can print them out, collage them in your art, or use them as a new desktop wallpaper! 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 links to download…
Roses Coloring Page (Black & White): PDF Here
Roses Collage Paper – Pink & Purple: PDF Here
Roses Collage Paper – Green Succulents:  PDF Here
Roses Collage Paper – Red: PDF Here
Entire Collection: PDF Here

 


 

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.

5 Helpful Hints For Recording Art Videos

Because I know there are a few of you who prefer short & sweet, there is a concise list of need-to-know information regarding recording overhead videos located at the bottom of this post.

Starting the project of creating art videos was not easy for me! I understood it in theory (record, edit, post) but the actual how-to of filming threw me through a loop! Having seen multiple art videos (YouTube and classes, alike) I knew what I wanted to do, just not how to achieve the look. I tried to search the web to find out what my favorite artists online used to record their videos, but it was a fruitless quest. Not one result was available to me about which cameras worked best or where to position the recording device—and there were absolutely no tips or tricks on the process of achieving such a feat. So I now present you with the post I wish I could have found.

Video Software

My Video Editing Software, Pinnacle Studio 18, In Use

I knew step one would be to purchase simple video editing software, and I found a cheap one in town. It’s not the best thing by any means, but it works…for now. As for everything else, I just used items on hand. I had a nice camera—not camcorder—and a huge tripod to start out with, which I was using beneath a pretty terrible overhead light. After blogging for about a month and a half now, I have realized that having a less than ideal camera has begun to deter my creative spirit. Every video I made required multiple cuts due to quickly dying camera batteries, and having to adjust zoom per each cut was awful! It was simply not giving me the clean results that my inner perfectionist desired. Fortunately, I had the means to fix all of this!

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My Original Recording Device, Nikon Coolpix L820, And It Is NOT a Camcorder!

Yesterday, I ran about town to purchase a camcorder and tripod, which would not consume a third of my desk. I am also now the happy owner of a desk light with natural light light bulbs. (The natural light light bulbs are a must have!) The camcorder can be used while plugged in, meaning no constant battery switching; the tripod is small enough that I no longer have to worry about inconsistent zoom range per cut. I’m thrilled to have a setup that makes my videos the (semi-)professional creations I’ve been so desperately craving! I now have a compact tripod that was aprox. $15, and a Cannon camcorder that cost me $250.

Camera and Tripod

My New Recording Materials: Sunpak 42″ Tripod & Canon HFR700 Camcorder

If you are trying to record an overhead video, the Canon Vixia HF R700 camcorder is perfect. It can stay plugged in forever, records up to 12 hours without stopping, and has a screen that will turn to face you, which means you can see the image you’re recording. It also has a function which allows the user to make the image mirrored, which isn’t a necessity, but stops you from trying to adjust your camera in the wrong direction when you image is off centered. If that doesn’t make sense, I’m sorry, but please know it’s got a neat feature that does a convenient thing for this specific use. I 100% endorse this camera if you are tying to do much overhead desk recording!

So here is a concise list of what I wish I’d known prior to attempting this project…

5 Helpful Hints For Recording Art Videos:
1. A camera with a battery life of an hour or more is a must have; a camera that can stay plugged in forever is a life saver!
2. If the camera has a screen to face you, it’s worth an extra $50. If it’s anymore than that, use a mirror opposite the camera to check your camera screen frequently(Especially if the camera’s battery isn’t very good!)
3. You do not need a tripod that is taller than 40″. Ever.
4. Shadows will ruin all videos, and even the cheapest adjustable desk lamp is worth your money for this purpose.
5. Having natural light or white light light bulbs will make your videos 100x better looking.
6. The three most important features in a video editing software are 1) ability to adjust video speed, 2) ability to add and alter additional audio tracks, and 3) ability to rotate your video.

Now that I have a setup that I don’t hate, you’ll be seeing quite a bit more of me!! Until then, happy arting!

How To: From “Doodles” to “Drawings”

For doodlers, asking the question “what do I draw?” is quite a bit easier when intuition is in control. It can seem effortless to scribble on a post-it note while on the phone, but then difficult to draw in a sketchbook at your desk. Of course, intimidation may play a role in this, but sometimes it’s because we’re just thinking  too hard. Once we identify what it is we like to draw, it’s much easier to choose what to draw. If you like to doodle circles, translate them into bubbles, wheels, cookies, or records. You can turn swirls into ribbons, tentacles, or roses. Maybe you’re prone to making zig-zags, which could be altered into monster teeth, lightning bolts, stitching, or heart monitor lines! Most of us can freely create shapes without much detail, but by just adding dots, lines, and shadows, doodles will transform into drawings!

Once you understand what it is that you like to draw, you just have to decide what designs speak to you. If you prefer the feminine things in life, roses might be the way to go; if weird is more your style, then you may want to draw tentacles instead! Don’t try to create that which you don’t find to be within your aesthetic. You shouldn’t draw it just because it should be there: art isn’t about should be, it’s about can be.You can do whatever you want to, because it is your art! If you don’t like the look of a smeared, dark sky, it is totally okay to make lighting strike the ground on a clear day; if you feel confident drawing wheels but are baffled by the anatomy of a car, let it roll alone down an empty road.

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Antler’d Octopus AJP

The photo above is one of my art journal pages. It incorporates all of my favorite doodle shapes: the circle, the swirl, and the zig-zag. I started with a large circle and then added swirls protruding from the shape. Next, I doodled hard zig-zags entering from the top of the page and less angular zig-zags entering from the bottom of the page. My shapes began to inspire me; with some acrylic paint and a little quirky thinking, I created an octopus resting in the seaweed beneath a cluster of anchors. I know that oceans are often depicted as blue—and that octopi don’t have antlers—but it’s my art and I am making creative decisions!

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Examples of Circles, Swirls, and Zig-Zags on Art Journal Pages

The next time you’re listening to music, reading the news, or chatting with a friend, try to have some paper and a pen within reach. You could keep post-it notes in your purse, or get fancy and buy the small Moleskine sketchbook that will fit in a shirt pocket (I’ve seen it done) for an artist-esque approach. A short golf pencil is a perfect sketching tool and it takes up almost no space!  If you keep things small, it’s much easier to doodle on the go! You’ll discover what shapes come easily for you when you have the freedom to doodle, but you need to have the equipment to do it!

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Doodle Kit Made From DVD Case

A simple way to keep your doodle supplies on hand is to throw a writing utensil and some paper in an old DVD box. The slim, flat profile of this case will easily fit in laptop bags and purses, as well as stack with bedside books. For my Doodle Kit, I made my own sketchbook by stapling several pieces of Bristol paper together, and gluing the first page to the inside of a blank greeting card. I made sure to let the back of the staples face me so that I can fix them if bending occurs during the process of ripping the paper away.

Let me know what you’re doodling, and where. I’d love to hear what shapes inspire you!

How To: From “Clippings” To “Art”

I have a love-hate relationship with collage material. If I don’t alter it, I feel like I’m lying by calling my art original. Collage material gives me imagery that I probably would not have been able to produce myself, but it seems like stealing if I don’t modify the pieces in some way. In this post, I will be sharing some of the ways that I alter collage material and incorporate it in my art.

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Adhesives, collage material, and a WIP page in my art-art journal.

1. Washing multiple pieces of collage material with the same color to create a subtle but interesting background. This effect is best done with gray scale imagery or pieces of collage material that are of similar color to the wash. Watercolor’s transparency is great for this technique and absorbs into magazine clippings instead of just sitting on the paper’s surface. (Acrylic paint works well to camouflage the papers edge where it is adhered to the background.)

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Steps for washing collage material with watercolors and layering with acrylic paint.

2. Using pens, markers, and/or paint on top of images by tracing and coloring the original picture. This is an amazing technique for non-drawers who would like to incorporate imagery into their art. It works for both main focal points and smaller background imagery.

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T-B & L-R, Art journal page close-ups of: Goodbye Friend; Angered Flight (1); Angered Flight (2); Artistic Eruption; Bite.

3. Creating the look of texture by using a photo that contains no focal point, or photos of complex line work. For example, if you found a photo of a boat on the water, you would use only the water part of the photo The waves have a textured appearance out of context, and may not even be recognizable as “water.” This is especially effective in backgrounds. The collage material used below was from a photo of graffiti, but is now too fragmented to be determined as such.

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Close-up of art journal page “Not All That Bites is Bad,” showing collage material beneath text.

4. Covering it up completely by allowing the imagery to inspire rather than controlThis may not sound like helpful advice, but completely cover your collage material! I do so in almost every spread that contains magazine clippings. If you use numerous collage material pieces per spread, your eyes will roll over multiple images, perhaps finding inspiration. For example, you might include a picture of pink zig-zags, think of lightning, and then end up covering that bright imagery with a dark and stormy landscape. Sometimes it just happens; you become absorbed by the process of art making, become paint-happy, and cover the imagery without even realizing it until the page is finished! (It’s 100% okay to get paint-happy, by the way, so no worries.)

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Lines where collage material is meeting the paper, but the imagery is hidden beneath paint.

There are so many ways to alter collage material, but this is how I do it. If you’re still struggling, check out Teesha Moore‘s gallery. She is famous for art that combines usual art supplies with different pieces of collage material. This style, called Zetti, is used to construct unique faces, animals, backgrounds, and more. I’ve never tried my hand at Zetti, but I appreciate it’s beauty!

Let me know if this post gets you excited to rip up some old magazines and whip out your gel pens by commenting below! I’ll see you Wednesday with my latest WIP and (hopefully) a video!