Creating Colorful and Interesting Journal Pages - Tips from the Journal Fodder Junkies
Students from the 2014 Online Workshops are hard at work in their art journals! In Workshop 2, Visual Journal Fodder, the Journal Fodder Junkies demonstrate all sorts of useful techniques to create colorful and richly layered journal pages.
If you're like many artist who feel a bit intimidated by a blank page, check out these great tips from Instructors Eric Scott and David Modler to help you get started with some interesting backgrounds:
Sprinkling ordinary rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol onto a wet wash of watercolor paint results in an interesting effect. The alcohol pushes the paint away creating a spotted effect. The key is to work quickly to paint the wash onto the page and sprinkle the rubbing alcohol onto the paint before it dries. An eye dropper is very convenient for dripping the the paint, but don’t fret if you don’t have an eye dropper. Use a stiff bristle brush to splatter the alcohol onto the page instead.
Very similar to the rubbing alcohol, ordinary table salt results in a very appealing texture when sprinkled into wet watercolor. Paint a wet, juicy wash onto a page and sprinkle a few pinches of salt onto the page before the watercolor dries. The grains of salt soak up some the water and paint leaving a crackled or “starburst” texture. Allow the paint to dry completely before brushing the salt off.
An old toothbrush or stiff bristle paintbrush make for effective tools for splattering the watercolor paint onto a page for a speckled or stippled effect. Use your finger to pull the bristles back toward you so that they fling toward the page. Do it the reverse way, and you can end up with a face full of paint splatters. Sometimes large drips of paint can fall from the brush, but this is all part of the process.
A painted piece of string or yarn creates wonderful random lines and textures on a page. Moistening the string first by submerging it it water and then squeezing out the excess water helps the string absorb the paint more quickly. Place the moistened string in a palette or paint tray lid, and paint the string with a brush loaded with a desired color. You can then carefully pull the wadded up string apart and drop it randomly on a page. You can also drag the string to create streaks, or you can press it down to create more apparent paths. You can create symmetrical designs by sandwiching the string between pages.
Stencils are more often associated with drawing media like pencil and ink, but thin plastic stencils can be effectively used with watercolor paint. You can even use found stencils like plastic mesh. When using the mesh you want to apply the paint through the grid holes by tapping with a stiff bristled brush. This allows the bristles to poke down into the grid and touch the paper. When using larger, flatter stencils, a sponge is a rapid way to apply paint through the stencil.
Since watercolor is a transparent material, it’s easy to build up a few layers with the paint. You can use any technique, but whatever techniques you use, the key is to allow the the paint to dry completely between layers so that the different layers don’t bleed together. On the other hand, bleeding and blending might be an interesting and desirable effect, so don’t be afraid to experiment. If you want to speed up the drying time between layers, use a hairdryer.
You can see the free video lessons that go along with these techniques in our Online Workshops. Click here to register for free today and get started.
Our Online Workshops are self-paced and remain open until December 31, 2014.