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Daily Paper Prompt #58: Hand-Carved Stamps!

Our guest for DPP #58 {fifty-eight, can you believe it?} is Gabriele, a journaling mixed media artist from Germany! I met Gabriele through the DY Facebook group, through her colorful contributions and warm comments.


Stamps! What a great tool! And there are so many ways to use them. As I started with Art Journaling about 1 year ago, I was overwhelmed by the enormous amount of art materials you can buy in the US for scrapping, card making and AJ. Some of the stamps were so great, I absolutely wanted to have them, because the artists works were so fantastic and I wanted to create pages like that also. For me it was not easy and very expensive (very high shipping costs from US) to get them. I made about 3 pages and 5 tags with my new wonderful stamps and then I realized, that my pages did not have the desired appearance, my tags looked all the same and most important of all: THAT WAS NOT ME. For a few prints it was perfect, but then it got boring. I realized, my pages started loosing their unique character. I would end up with something many other people have. This was not my intention.

How to solve that problem? I spent a long, long time searching the internet for alternatives to ready made stamps. I finally found some videos about artists making their own stamps and stencils. And they were so different in style and material, I knew this was it!!! A lot of work, but the chance of developing own ideas and patterns was worth it. I tried carving potatoes, which is a short time solution and a good practice, but not for longer use. I finally found some material called speedycut, which I use for more detailed and complicated stamps. I work on it with linocut tools.

But my favourite carving material is packing foam.

It comes in all kinds of colours and thicknesses and it is for free! Mine came with some loudspeakers, and is very easy to work with. I use a simple cutter, which you can get at the craft store for very little money, many of you will have it at home.

I like the rawness of these prints, the stamps are easy to use with acrylic paint, or ink, whatever you like. Due to its buffed surface, when using acrylics, the print is rich in texture, which is an attractive contrast to even backgrounds. And (very important) it takes only a very short time to carve them. When a stamp is damaged, you can easily make a new one or another one.

I use my stamps mostly with acrylic paint, often outline them with markers or pens in different colours. Here are some examples that show how many varieties you can have with a small amount of stamps.


For me the most important thing is: a self cut stamp is an individual piece of your own personal art and everything you create with it carries your personal mark. For me it makes a great difference, if I use stamps created by someone else or my very own. Give it a try. I am sure, you come up with many different patterns, you always wanted to have, but cannot find them ready made. Why always spend money on things, that are so easy to create? Thank you very much Tammy, for being such a wonderful host! Thank you very much, my fellow artists, for your stopping by and your interest! And now: free you Mojo and have fun!

There's an index to all of the Daily Paper Prompts.


Daily Paper Prompt #57: One Word Journal Page

{This is my 12 yr old daughter's art journal page - see another just like it}

Create an art journal page focused on ONE WORD or a very, very short phrase {just a few words}. First, create a background in any way you wish. Messy paints, squiggled doodles in orange sharpie, watercolor stripes, collage... your pick. The word or short phrase is the focal point of the entire page. If you want to write/journal on top of the background, the word can be the launching point. 

Then dip a brush in black fluid acrylic paint, craft acrylic paint or dark india ink and paint your word or phrase. If you've never painted words, it's really the same as writing, but with a brush. Another option is to use a black Sharpie marker or Pitt brush pen. Wait until the painted word is completely dry {an hour or two later} and outline it with metallic paint marker, with white gellyroll, or white colored pencil. If you have a thin brush, you can outline this word with a lighter color of paint.

There's an index to all of the Daily Paper Prompts.


Daily Paper Prompt #56: Torn Paper Collage

The prompt is to use torn layers of paper to create a collage. I made two examples by tearing japanese papers to create the look of mountains or waves with various peaks and valleys. 

 The first is stitched to an index card, with the stitching echoing the waves.

The second is glued in a simple journal that I created with watercolor paper. I painted the back of each piece with fluid matte medium and glued to the page. Above the papers, the perfect space for slow journaling. {How convenient... DPP #27: Slow Journaling}

Remember to work your layers so that there is an illusion of depth. The mountains or waves closest to you will be glued on the topmost layer, so I actually glued the highest bits here first and worked my way down.

There's an index to all of the Daily Paper Prompts.


Daily Paper Prompt #55: Patterns on a Grid

Our guest for DPP #55 is Anika {also known as A is for Anika} who has taken instagram by storm {or at least by pattern} with her pattern-a-day challenge. I "met" Anika through instagram when I noticed a series of elegant patterns in mediums that seemed to change by the month. I liked the simplicity of the challenge and did the challenge in December 2012. It was a blast! 


Creating patterns is a great way to express your creativity. You can spend as much or as little time on them as you want, and the results are always satisfying. There are a number of ways to approach drawing patterns, but one of the easiest ways to begin is to use grids. You can use them as a fixed structures that are incorporated into your patterns or as a starting points to make very un-grid-like finished products. In any case, having a few lines on the paper often makes it easier to get started.

When I first tried out making my own patterns, I used a sketchbook filled with graph paper. It's still one of my favorite surfaces to draw on, and I use it in several ways to help me compose patterns.

  • Incorporate the boxes of the grid into a pattern. Fill the boxes solidly with color, or decorate them with different textures such as lines or dots. 
  • Draw organic shapes at regular intervals. Use the grid to space the pattern evenly.
  • Ignore the grid! Try out a scattered pattern on graph paper. Add shapes randomly while striving for an overall balanced composition. The existing printed lines make an interesting background to this kind of pattern.

What to do when you don't have any graph paper handy? Easy! Make your own!

Draw a grid with pencil and use it as a guideline to arrange elements of a pattern. This is a convenient way to start since you can erase the pencil lines when you are finished, (assuming you don't use pencil to draw your pattern!) and it will look like you freehanded an evenly spaced pattern!

You can use a ruler to create a precise grid, but I like to draw my lines on the fly. The squares usually end up being a little wonky and imperfect, but I enjoy the irregularity. There are 2 ways to approach creating a hand drawn grid:

For a relatively more even grid, start by dividing your paper into quadrants.

Continue to divide the sections in halves until you have the desired size grid.

If you prefer an uneven grid, draw your lines from one end of the paper to the other, and then from the top to the bottom.

You might be surprised by how hard it is to get even divisions across the page, but this is great technique if you're after a grid with a little more character. 

Use your hand drawn grid to create a pattern with markers or watercolor. When you are done, erase what is left of the grid for a clean background.

If you use watercolor to make your pattern, try adding pen or marker detail in analogous or contrasting colors for a little extra visual interest.


  • Use a "light hand" when drawing your grid with pencil, and it will be much easier to completely erase the guidelines when you're done with the pattern. 
  • If your pencil lines are dark and you have a hard time "seeing past them" to create the pattern you want, erase the dark lines just enough so they are faded, but not completely gone. This way you can use the lines and intersections to place your pattern elements where you want them without being distracted by dark, seemingly permanent lines. 

It's a cool trick to be able to draw your own grid, and then erase it when your pattern is finished, but I also like to create patterns that use the grid as part of the design. When approaching a pattern in this manner, start out by drawing your grid with marker, watercolor, paint, etc. You can draw the lines by hand, or use the help of a ruler if you prefer.

Once the grid is on the paper, embellish the squares with shapes or texture to finish the pattern.

Tips: Find inspiration from traditional techniques that often incorporate grids into designs:

  • Tiles: Notice how a single tile can match up with others to create different effects. Draw your own tile and see what the pattern looks like when they are repeated.
  • Quilt Patterns: Simple looking quilt squares often meet up with one another to make complex patterns. Can you come up with your own variation of a traditional quilt pattern?
  • Plaid: Try using watercolor or other transparent medium to come up with a unique plaid pattern!

If you don't want to take the time to draw a grid before starting a pattern, try to simply "imagine" a grid.

Without the use of an actual grid on the paper, you can still draw a pattern that is arranged in a grid layout. Starting at the top of the paper, draw a row of repeating or alternating motifs. Below that first row, draw another row of the same motif(s), or come up with a new shape for the new row. Line up the motifs vertically so you start to build vertical columns as well as rows. Try to keep the rows and columns even, but embrace imperfections as you make them. Repeat for as many rows as desired.

When you've filled the page with your pattern, go back and add other elements to the spaces where your imaginary grid lines "intersect". If your pattern is looking a little unfinished, you can always add more detail lines or color.

I've had so much fun drawing and exploring pattern over the last few years. The possibilities are truly endless, and it's a fun tool to incorporate into any creative endeavor. I hope these ideas have inspired you to make at least a few unique patterns of your own!

There's an index to all of the Daily Paper Prompts.


Daily Paper Prompt #54: Organize Ephemera

“If you run out of ideas follow the road; you'll get there”
Edgar Allan Poe


Take some time this week to organize your art journaling ephemera. It might be unrealistic to organize everything in a few days, but making some small steps toward organizing your ephemera might lead you to some interesting discoveries and will make working in your journal easier!

Part of collecting stuff is organizing said stuff! I organize my paper ephemera and abstract papers in several ways. For example, my Japanese washi papers are stored together in a large basket. Several tiny sucrets cough drop boxes (altered with washi tape) hold fodder like postage stamps, fortunes, words and mini-MOO cards. A variety of abstract painted pages are organized in clear plastic boxes made for scrapbook papers. Similar boxes hold magazine/catalog clippings, maps, brochures, tags and random ephemera.

Wouldn't it help to get a little organized? 

Great spots for your paper stuff: zip-lok baggies, baskets, lidded plastic containers, shoeboxes and cigar boxes. You can store ephemera + collage cuttings by theme, type, color, size, or usage. For example, you might keep stuff to create "people" together {dresses, clothing, faces, shoes}, keep found words or phrases together {for found poetry or wise remarks on journal pages}. Or maybe by color - greens in one zip-lok, blues in another, etc.

There's an index to all of the Daily Paper Prompts.


Daily Paper Prompt #53: Triangles

This three-sided prompt is from guest hostess Denyse Whelan!


Hello! I am Denyse, an Australian K-6 retired principal who always wanted to do Art in High School as a 'proper' subject but was told to do a more 'rigorous' subject. More than 45 years later, here I am, loving the freedom, the thinking, and the creativity of Art in my life. I'm a highly visual learner and love to take photos as well as to create. Finding Daisy Yellow's ICAD challenge has changed my life.

When it was suggested I could take this idea and see what I came up with as a Daily Paper Prompt (thanks Tammy!) I couldn’t get the triangle shape out of my head. Best to start creating. I did two (and a few more) and then I went for a drive. Not to find triangles, just some Spring (in Australia) photo opportunities. I was driving peacefully along a back road of North West Sydney when ‘bam’ I saw Triangles.

In fact, so many I said it outloud! I safely stopped, drove back to the spot and found this!

Steel staunchions. Power Lines.

Then away along the road again, these:


And so I created.... and created...

Two of my many creations based on triangle shape. In the first (above), I started with a DOT in the middle and then added triangle after triangle. The materials are wax resist glitter colours in Neocolour Crayons.

In this piece, I used a triangle shape (plastic) found in kids’ maths bags. Layered the triangles, and let the pattern take me along. The materials are water soluble Neocolour Crayons and a water brush.

Bonus: If you pop over to Denyse's blog you'll find the step-by-step process for these works!!!

Your turn! 

There's an index to all of the Daily Paper Prompts.