Prompt60 #43

You can do this as a writing prompt or an art prompt, or combine the two in some intriguing fashion. I snapped a photo of this dinosaur sculpture at Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, PA a few years ago. Let's use the contrast - the striking rainbow alphabet letters against the gloomy December backdrop of the city - to spark something fun.

Writing prompt: Describe the planet where this dinosaur originated.

Art prompt: Create a page in your journal with a neutral, dark background with one amazing, incredible, surprising pop of color.

New Workshop: Draw Your Words

"All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination."
Earl Nightingale

Draw Your Words is a fresh hand-lettering workshop with a playful array of drawing and writing exercises to strengthen your skills.  I'll challenge you to try new techniques and think creatively about how you use words in your art journal with videos, examples & tips.

we get started april 24.

Workshop Fee: $0, Zero, Nada, Nothing!
Registration: Not required!
Tip jar* donations appreciated!  

Share your work on instagram or twitter with tag #drawyourwords

The workshop materials {videos, ideas, tips} will be rolled out weekly {like the Art Journal Tangents Series}. So if you are getting the blog feed in your feed reader or via email, you'll see all of the posts. I'm planning one section per week for 5 weeks. You can work at your own pace; the materials will be available for at least a year.

flexible ideas + exercises
creative launching points
for your work

*As a bonus, folks donating {$5 or more} to the DY Tip Jar are invited to join the Draw Your Words discussion group at Facebook. This will be a space for Q&A and a spot to share your hand-lettering experiments for the workshop. I'll contact you to work out the details for accessing the FB group!

PS. This offer is retroactive if you've donated to the Tip Jar since January 1st.

What supplies will be needed?
The supply list is simple; you likely already have everything you need. You'll want to have a handful of markers in various nib sizes, like PITT artist pens, a journal of any type and some index cards. But wait! I'll put together a list of optional materials in the next few days so stay tuned. 

Look forward to videos, examples & tips for playing with words and adding words to your journal pages. The focus will be on process & practice in order to improve your line work.

21 Secrets Spring 2015

And the winner is.... Jessica Loughrey!!!
Congrats and I'll be in touch!!! 

I'm teaching a workshop called Crossroads as part of 21 Secrets Spring 2015. And this week, I'm giving away one spot in the next 21 Secrets experience! 


Enter to win one spot in 21 Secrets, with 21 unique creative workshops, including my new Crossroads workshop! 

Here's how to enter the contest! No purchase is necessary. One winner will be selected at random from valid comments received before this deadline. 

1. Leave a comment on this post before Sunday March 29 at 11pm CST. To be considered, be sure to include your first name and email address.

Crossroads is a mixed media workshop which explores watercolor/gouache, sewing paper and journaling in ink. Learn more about my workshop and see a video peek

The fun starts April 1.

all the groovy ideas together

"Abstract artists tell their stories with shapes, color, edges, movement, and value - just like when one is painting a beautiful scene. The difference is, of course, there is no scene. The scene is within the artist. I often get asked, 'How do you know when you are done?' I am done when the story is told."
Gwen Fox


These pages are some of the wildest I've done in like, forever! A mix of freestyle stitching, india inks & gouache. I painted these pages in January, at the same time I was working diligently on a huge abstract painting that will be a gift for a very close friend. I'll reveal that when I'm finished but it will be a mystery until then. So after working with acrylics on canvas for a few days, I started thinking about creating something similar on paper. Not similar in the way it looks, but more in the freedom. But I wanted to do this with something which would allow the texture of the stitching to remain rather than be covered up. How to translate acrylic to gouache? I wanted it to have a sort of graffiti, urban vibe, really crazy, like spray paint. So interesting how one project informs another, and back again, until it's an infinite loop!

a creative approach to recuperation

a creative approach to recuperation

5x8" watercolor moleskine {digitally altered to add background} 

This is going to be a little different than my typical posts. thank you for indulging my tangential topic today. Then we'll be back to art. 

I'm 3 weeks out from my foot surgery and can look back with more objectivity at the first two weeks.  I've been thinking about how art & creative thinking have helped me get through this challenging period. This would be relevant to many types of surgery where you must rest but can still think clearly and maybe write/draw/type part of each day. 

Days leading up to foot surgery. 

  1. Prepped a rolling cart with journals, pens, a bunch of Sudoku puzzles, the iPad, water, a check-list of medications, fresh clothing, TIVO remote, etc. because I would need to use that as a base of operations. It could be wheeled to a different room if needed. Added a stack of books, including fiction and art books. Set up a phone and iPad charger within reach. I didn't have to stay overnight in the hospital, but if I had, these would also be good things to bring along.
Read More

Getting Words on acrylics & layered Art Journal Pages


The most challenging surface scenarios include dark/black paint, floral or wild patterns, grungy, rough or uneven acrylic paint, fiber paste and thick layers of collage & acrylic paint. That covers about 74% of our art journal pages.*

Tools for Getting Words on Acrylic Backgrounds

a) Ordinary pencil. Sometimes when nothing else works, a #2 pencil does the trick.
b) Sanford Uni-Ball Gel UM-153 gel penWhite and other colors. 
c) Sakura Gelly RollFor dark backgrounds {including black gesso and black acrylics} try white, neon, metallic silver and gold. For light backgrounds, try the medium nibs, neons and darker metallics. 
d) Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens are permanent and dry quickly.  The M nib & brush nib & Big Brush nibs provide thick lines. Try dark gray, black, navy & sepia for light backgrounds. Lighter colors won't show up on dark backgrounds; they are not opaque. 
e) Rapidograph technical pen. You can use with Golden high flow acrylics or india ink. There's a bit of a learning curve, so do some research before jumping in.
f) Dip pen -or- calligraphy pen. You can use with india ink, i.e.  Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay White ink of J. Herbin inks. Also try Golden high flow acrylics.
g) Sharpie water-based Poster Paint MarkersThe name is odd because they are thick nibs. Work quite well on uneven, rough surfaces.
h) Opaque acrylic paint. Fluid acrylic paint. Golden high flow acrylic paint. India ink. Apply with a brush or through a stencil.
i) Alphabet + number stamps. Stamp titles, words & phrases.
j) Hand-carved stamps. Carve words or symbols into erasers or linocutting material. Use an x-acto knife or lino-cutting tools. Stamp on journal pages. {tutorial}
k) Stick ordinary white correction tape on the page. Write on the surface. 
l) Write words on separate piece of paper. Glue to your journal page. Works like a charm!
m) Cut words from magazines and found papers. Glue to your journal page {example}.

* Maybe an overestimate. But scientific research has not yet yielded more precise findings. Yet.

Tip: Don't forget to let your pages dry!

If your page is dry you can add words {symbols, etc.} directly to your page with a pen, marker, stamps, paint or ink. OK, almost anything!

If your page is not dry {like really dry, not just the tippy top surface}, try "writing" your words with a brush and acrylics. Pens and markers get gunked up and might {or might not} be salvageable. To give you a frame of reference, I might be able to write with a marker/pen on a page with a watercolor or gouache background after 15 minutes to an hour.... but it might take a day to a week for my highly layered pages {papers, heavy body acrylics} to dry enough to use a marker/pen. It depends on the volume of acrylic paint, the layers, to humidity, the temperature, etc. A good number of variables impact drying time. More scientific stuff here.

More art materials reviews & lists:

Art Materials for Art Journaling
Favorite Pens for Writing, Sketching, Doodling & Drawing
Art Materials to Take on Vacation
All About Sakura Gelly Rolls
All About Caran D'Ache Neocolor IIs.