Altered Book: Scavenger Hunt

"There are as many ways to write songs
 as there are songs."
Gregg Allman

Art journal pages don't need to have deep meaning. See? They can just be fun to do. They can have bits of stuff from Starbucks and index card doodles. And Jimmy Buffett quotes. They don't need to be HIGH ART or selected for a TRAVELING JURIED SHOW ABOUT ABSTRACT VULNERABILITY. Just show up in front of your journal, so SOMETHING, and it helps. It counts in the big picture of your life. It works. It matters. It is the DOING that makes a difference, not the message or the materials or the medium. So please don't be so hard on yourselves with regard to your finished work. It might be crooked or you might skip a word in a quote or use turquoise when you wish you would have used peach. Before you open your journal, take a deep breath and let go of all of that critical self-analysis! Let it fly out the window on the wings of a ladybug. In the long run, the big picture, just get to work. Paint, draw, smudge, write, rhyme, tape, staple, glue, collage, doodle, document. It will make a difference in your life. It might not make a difference today, on this particular day, but it is a good habit that will make a difference overall. 

I started a new altered book project about two weeks ago. This new book has fewer pages than the last book I made [that took 2 years] and won't be as intense a project! This is children's cartoon book with heavy, super glossy pages. It took a few pages to get into the swing of things and get used to the size and now I'm really liking it. This page includes acrylics, magazine clippings, index card art, found papers, washi tape and most importantly a quote from Jimmy Buffett [whose name apparently has two t's and now I'm seeing that I wrote buffet]. Ah well, it gives the page charm. I've seen him twice in concert, once in the mid-1980s in Pittsburgh and again in Dallas before the kids were born. I thought the quote worked with the aqua blues and the nature of the page. The quote is in dip pen with Golden high flow acrylics. There's a video tutorial on this type of hand-lettering in the Draw Your Words workshop, Lettering in White.

Draw Your Words: Doodle Letters Two

This is Draw Your Words, a free workshop about drawing better letters. 
You'll probably want to start with the index in the introduction.


In this section, we're going to make a little playground, a Dr. Seuss-like weird page of silly letters. Let your imagination {and your inner child} run wild, creating letters that look like amusement park rides, donuts, ribbons, park swings, rocks, earrings, beaded crowns or quilts.

For your doodly letters, forget the RULES of penmanship, the imaginary lines, the direction you are supposed to write your letters, the idea that your letters must be uniform or even legible. 

I'm working on the letter A. The beginning of the alphabet and the start of words like AQUAMARINE and ASTEROID. And memories like the "A you're adorable, B you're so beautiful, C you're a cutie full of charm..." A tune that I sang to my daughters when they were babies. 

Watch the video below or at Vimeo or YouTube {8 mn}


For this section, you'll need a black marker and something to color in your letters - suggestions include PITT brush nib markers, Sakura Gelly Rolls, colored pencils, watercolor or gouache paint. You could also create funky black & white doodle letters.

If you dare, pick one of the letters that you really like - then think of a short word - and design the rest of the letters in the same style.

The pens that I use in the video. 

- To draw the doodle letters: black water-based Sharpie Poster Paint marker.
- To colorize the doodlesSakura Glaze Pens.  

Your challenge is to draw one letter of the alphabet in outline fashion, each version with a different twist. Then draw patterns inside each letter, each different too! You can draw the patterns in black or draw them with your colored markers. Consider stripes, plaid, bubbles, curves, diamonds, chevrons, flowers, leaves, dots, rainbows, feathery lines, faux stitching. 

And remember that we are all learning. Please don't be critical of your efforts. It is work! But it's also play. You cannot improve without practice. So try to find 15-20 minutes each day this week to play with your letters.

Creative Insight of the Day

At Poets & Writers, author Cynan Jones notes, “Writing things down can be dangerous. If I sit at the desk without a clear idea of what I want to say, I can get into all sorts of trouble. I love the physical act of writing, like a kid who's just learned to whistle loves whistling, and before I know it, I can generate pages of prose. Hours (days) can be wasted on a story that ends up trying to beat a path through an increasingly thick jungle of possibilities, dead ends, and pitfalls. I've learned it's better to stalk the story down in my head first. Over a period of months, often longer, I try to build the story block by block until it feels right. Then I write it down as if I'm remembering it. That process is quick and intense. It's about getting the story onto the page as clearly and strongly as I can. The balancing and testing of that initial writing happens afterwards, and I try to trust the instinct that made me put the words down in the first place. The process as a whole takes a long time, even if the actual 'writing down' itself doesn't. I've learned to have patience with the process, and to be patient when the writing is only happening in my head.”

Why is the workshop free? This workshop is designed just like my full-priced workshops, but this is a pay-what-you-wish model. If you are finding value in this workshop, and at Daisy Yellow, please consider adding something to the Tip Jar. My goal is to help you add art and creativity to your life. 

As a bonus, those contributing to the Tip Jar {minimum $5} gain access to the private DYW Facebook Group with extra content, discussion, Q&A and tips. There's a lovely group of folks sharing and discussing their lettering experiments in a comfy environment. It's a spot where you can share your work and talk about the workshop. I appreciate your vote of confidence and support. 

ICAD 2015 Index

This page will serve as the Index-Card-a-Day Challenge - ICAD - index. If you are planning to do the challenge [and I hope you do!] this is a good page to bookmark. It will be updated with quick links to all things ICAD. This is a work-in-progress so all links might not yet work.

ICAD Intro Video @ Vimeo or YouTube
My index card collection
The 2015 FB group
Get the blog feeds via a feed reader or email

Creative Warm-Up Exercises.
The weeks leading up to the start date are full of anticipation and probably a bit of nervous energy too! What to do? If we were preparing for a 5K, we would stretch and start by walking, right? So let's do that with creative ideas and art materials.

Let's s-t-r-e-t-c-h those creative muscles. You are welcome to explore these exercises any time before, during or after the challenge. Any time you need a little creative pick-me-up. I hope that they get your mind in the mood to create!

2014 ICAD Warm-Up #1
2014 ICAD Warm-Up #2
2014 ICAD Warm-Up #3
2014 ICAD Warm-Up #4
2014 ICAD Warm-Up #5
2015 ICAD Warm-Up #6 {coming May 2015}
2015 ICAD Warm-Up #7 {coming May 2015}
2016 ICAD Warm-Up #8 {coming May 2015}

ICAD Prompts

The prompts are 100% optional. There is no requirement or expectation that you will follow the prompts. They are here for you if you need them. Tips for using ICAD Themes & Prompts. Prompts are posted on Fridays in June and July at the blog, and I'll update the links here. 

Thematic Prompts = Concepts, Techniques, Ideas
Quicklinks to the prompts. Links will work when posts go live.

Themes for Weeks 1-2-3. Posted Friday May 29
Themes for Weeks 4-5-6. Posted Friday June 19.
Themes for Weeks 7-8-9. Posted Friday July 10.

Topical Prompts = Daily Sparks
Week #1: June 1-7. Posted Friday May 29.
Week #2: June 8-14. Posted Friday June 5.
Week #3: June 15-21. Posted Friday June 12.
Week #4: June 22-28. Posted Friday June 19.
Week #5: June 29- July 5. Posted Friday June 26.
Week #6: July 6 - 12. Posted Friday July 3.
Week #7: July 13-19. Posted Friday July 10.
Week #8: July 20-26. Posted Friday July 17.
Week #9: July 27 - 31. Posted Friday July 24.

ICAD Good Stuff
The Kid's Version of ICAD
ICAD Badges
ICAD Guest Posts from 2013 & 2014

Daisy Yellow

A peek into my index card collection!

The Index-card-a-day challenge is just around the corner! No worries, you've got time to whip over to the office supply store and grab a stack of index cards. If you don't have a stash of art supplies grab a 36-pack of ultra-fine Sharpie markers and you'll be well-prepared! In this video, I talk about my index card collection, sharing a subset of the cards that I've created over the years. 

Watch the video here, @ Vimeo or YouTube. {15 minutes}

I filmed the video about a year ago and I think that  in the flurry of ICAD last year I forgot to share it! Yes, it gets that crazy.

Read the ICAD FAQ.
Get an ICAD 2015 Badge.
Join the Daisy Yellow ICAD group at Facebook <-- new for the 2015 challenge

Draw Your Words: White Lettering

This is Draw Your Words, a free workshop about drawing better letters. 
You'll probably want to 
start with the index in the introduction.

Welcome back to the workshop! We are exploring various aspects of hand-lettering and including more words on our journal pages. In this section, I'll share an idea for writing on acrylic art journal backgrounds using white Golden High Flow acrylic paint. This paint is great ammunition if you want to express your words on a backdrop of dark, intense color. It has a consistency in between ink and fluid acrylics, but closer to ink. In the video, I'm using a dip pen with a flexible drawing nib. If you are working on a dark background, white high flow acrylics are gorgeously opaque. If your background has patterns or is light, try a dark color like black, sepia, ultramarine, dioxazine purple or payne's gray.

You'll need a little medicine cup or a tiny lid to hold the paint. In the video I'm awkwardly using a lid from a spice jar, but it's more difficult to maneuver. I couldn't find a medicine cup, sorry! Also, a drawing nib on a dip pen holder or a tiny acrylic paint brush {perhaps #2 or smaller} and Golden high flow acrylic paint. If you don't have any of the above materials, go ahead and practice lettering a quote with a small brush and fluid acrylic paint.

If you are using a dip pen you'll need to start with a dry page, so this may take two blocks of "art time" to complete. If you are using a brush, the page doesn't need to be perfectly dry, and it doesn't even need to be flat. 

Or of course you could work with dark-colored paint on a light/white background, white heavy card stock, cardboard, watercolor paper or bristol paper.

Watch the video below, pop over to Vimeo or YouTube to view. {4 mn}

You'll be surprised that this is such a straightforward affair. Dip the nib in the paint and be sure that the paint covers the little oval-ish opening in the nib. Then press the dip pen nib to the paper and the paint should flow down to the paper. The paint is thicker than ink and just as saturated as fluid acrylics or heavy body acrylics. Isn't that magical? I love them! 


You might want to make the first line on a piece of scrap paper to get the feel of the nib. Once the paint flows down, it should keep flowing for a minute or more, depending how fast you are writing etc. Then grab more paint and write more. Just like ink - a little pressure results in a thicker line. But unlike ink - gradually the paint on your nib will start to dry out and it will seem like it's not flowing as well. Depending on your work environment that might take half hour or longer. Time to wash your nib and start again. 

The paint on your page takes a bit of time to dry; be careful not to smear the paint while you are working. Also be careful not to let the paint dry on the nib - rinse it with warm water and dishwashing liquid {like Dawn} and pat it dry with a cloth or paper towel. If you are finished working for the day, remove the nib from the holder and let it air dry as well. I use my dip pens regularly I clean them in this way and although they are not shiny and spotless they work just fine for my journaling.

From here, you can add collage to the page or just let it overflow with your deep thoughts. Some of my favorite pages are just paint and words.

Here's a little art journaling tip. You can use a brush and high flow acrylics to paint words or doodles on even the most grungy of surfaces, like textured acrylics, fiber paste or uneven layers of collage. Just go slowly. If you'd like to see how to use a super grungy medium called fiber paste, check out a tutorial I did for my very first 21 Secrets teaching gig called Urban Layer Cake.

Here's an index for the DYW workshop.

Altered Book: Falling Rainbow

"Every time I've made a radical change 
it's helped me feel buoyant as an artist." 
David Bowie

Continuing to work in the new altered book. It's not really about anything in particular, just an episode of CUT + PASTE therapy. One of my theories about art journaling is that it doesn't need to be about anything in particular or have deep meaning. I think it can just BE. There are found papers, a rubber stamp with acrylic paint, magazine clippings, index card art, neocolors and washi tape.