Tutorial: Make a Grid

“Progress lies not in enhancing what is,
but in advancing toward what will be.”
Kahlil Gibran
Index card tutorial, make a grid with collage & acrylics.

Index card tutorial, make a grid with collage & acrylics.

My analytical side is fascinated... drawn to...  creating and working with grids in almost every medium. So let's make an easy peasy collage in the form of a grid, using magazine clippings and other papers in your stash. This is a great way to use tiny clippings and old magazines. The technique used in this tutorial is so darned versatile; once you try it you'll find so many different ways to use it! 

If you LOVE grids and geometric forms like I do, I bet you can build a zillion art journal pages from the simple concept of a grid. 

Watch here or pop over to Vimeo or YouTube {6 minutes}

Once you have your workspace set up, this project will take 15-30 minutes, depending on how much time you'd like to dedicate to finding the elements for the grid. This took about 15 minutes to create; I edited the video to a 6 minute tutorial.

In the video, I start with a 3x5" index card divider and adhere eight bits that I cut from magazines & maps. Truly small format art! You can use any kind of index card, a manila folder, mixed media paper, even cardboard from the front of a cereal box. If you want to make a bigger grid, use more collage elements! You can also turn your card sideways and make a taller grid. 

To adhere the papers, I'm using Golden soft gel; you can use soft gel, fluid matte medium or even a UHU glue stick. After the little pieces are attached, I show the first idea for this grid - to edge with wit Caran D'Ache Neocolors {see my post All About Neocolors for details}. You can use either the water-soluble {Neocolor II} or the non-water-soluble {Neocolor I} type for this technique. Lyra Aquacolors also work just great for edging. So I draw the edging and then smudge with my fingers. 

And then to give you another option for your grid, I painted over the grid with acrylics. If you are planning to paint over your imagery you can skip the edging step. Both heavy body or fluid acrylics would work for this exercise. I'm using Golden heavy body acrylics. After the paint dries, you can edge with Neocolors to add another color, or you can use a tiny brush to paint a line around the images as I did in the flower example below. 

You can apply the acrylics with a small brush or with your fingers, and the brush that I mentioned was a Da Vinci Top Acryl. This is a good quality German-made synthetic brush for acrylic paints. These are under $15 for size 2-4, a lovely size for small format artwork and small spaces. Try a flat, bright or round with a short handle for this sort of work. If you are working with acrylics, be sure to get a brush for acrylics. If you are working with watercolor, for example, be sure to get a brush suited for watercolor. All brushes are not created equal. When you are finished, let the card dry overnight... and then you can write on it in Sakura neon or white gelly roll pen! 

Can you see the grid format in this art journal page? This is one of the pages from the Novel Approach workshop where we work with the grid format on several mixed media pages. A grid does not have to be a literal grid, it can just be the suggestion or idea of a grid.