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.

Draw Your Words: repeat and s-t-r-e-t-c-h

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 episode, I'll show you a little teeny tiny trick for visualizing how to space out your letters, using index cards or scrap paper to guesstimate the spacing. Try making a simple painted background and then write a long word in your journal in different ways - at least one should S-T-R-E-T-C-H all the way across the page.

Watch the short video here or at Vimeo or YouTube {4 mn}

The more lines you draw - with intention - the better your lines will be! Practice makes all the difference in the universe. Just keep drawing lines. Not merely squiggles, but lines where you "try" to do something. Maybe parallel lines, perpendicular lines, grids, flowers, invented patterns. There is no magical formula at all! Your hand and arm and mind will gradually learn how to do what you intend to do. You might not be able to "see" your progress for quite awhile, but I assure you that you are making progress. Your hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills will benefit from drawing practice. Consider your progress over the course of, say, 6 months. 

*Contributions to the Tip Jar are welcome for this pay-what-you-wish sort of workshop.

Draw Your Words: The Yellow Page

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


Watch here, at Vimeo or at YouTube {10 mn}

Let's paint! We're going to paint a messy background with a brush and Golden fluid or heavy body acrylics. I'm using heavy body acrylics. Then I'll do some stamping with acrylic paint, add a bit of collage and paint words with Golden high flow acrylic paint. 

When you add collage and ephemera to your art journal, try leaving open space(s) so that you have a ready-made target for words.

Creative Idea of the Day:

If you haven't started collecting quotes, I highly recommend it! You can find them at every turn, often before the first chapter or at the beginning of a book, at BrainyQuote, GoodreadsArt Quotes & The Quote Garden.  I've been saving quotes since I was young, and still have the "Quotable Quotes" pages from the monthly Reader's Digest! I scan through quotes for one that strikes me. I don't try to match the quote with the page, but sometimes the juxtaposition is quite illuminating. 

There's a workshop index, where you can navigate to each section.

Altered Book: Duck

"Trust in what you love, continue to do it, 
and it will take you where you need to go."
Natalie Goldberg

It looks like red, silver and black, but other colors helped out too.These are the Golden heavy body acrylics I used, with payne's gray and black around the border.  A fairly restrained use of color and much simpler than the pages I usually do. How interesting that the page turned out so differently when I used colors outside my comfort zone. Something to ponder.

Here's the page that I shared with you in Prompt60 #46: Color Discomfort. Red is a color I rarely if ever use! It's a color that is always an afterthought, a color that nothing seems to work with. It's not really true, of course. So I pushed myself to use red. I finger-painted heavy body acrylics surrounded by payne's gray and black around the edges, leaving only one thing from the original page, the duck. That's the magic of altering a book. There's something already there when you start! Like a title or text or a duck. So I squinted and I could see a horizontal and a vertical stripe meeting at the duck, like the bow on wrapping paper. So I painted the stripes with stainless steel paint. The quote is lettered with Golden high flow acrylics {I'll share a tutorial about this type of lettering in the Draw Your Words workshop}.