I love having a bounce-back day, and today’s layout reflects that. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and I’m glad I exercised some restraint and kept myself from going overboard and filling in the negative space.
The layout started with a pretty piece of scrapbooking paper I tore out of a Debbie Moore Papercrafting Magazine. (I love how Barnes and Noble manages to get these U.K. publications over here to the U.S.)
This piece fulfilled three additional goals I had for a layout:
- A layout that used one of my scrapbook papers as the background with minimal covering-over of the design.
- Paint a focal piece in watercolor and put it into an art journal page.
- A layout with a lot of white space (Artist hint: White space doesn’t mean white paper. It just means an area without major focal points – the eye may hover in the area a bit to take in some details, but it gets quickly drawn to the bolder elements on the page. The best way to test this theory is to look at a design that may have color in the background and squint your eyes to blur out everything but the dominant elements on the page. That is a good way to pick out the true “white” space on your layout.)
Now the second goal wasn’t exactly fulfilled. I drew the flowers on my scratch pad sketch paper with my Sharpie pen and then filled them in with my Derwent Inktense pencils instead of filling them in with watercolor. The Inktense pencils have a very watercolorish appearance to them, however. I won’t scratch my watercolor goal off my list of things I want to accomplish, but this certainly was a close fit.
So I started the layout by adhering the two pieces of scrapbook paper to the page with gel medium. I had to use that stripe and dot strip because the size of the paper I tore from the magazine wasn’t big enough to fill the entire page of my art journal. Yes I purposely left the base paper peeking out on the top edge and lower-right corner. It’s totally okay!
I knew I wanted this to have a sort of vintage appearance so I gessoed over the scrapbook paper and then smudged on some of my Faber-Castell Gelatos in blue, gold and white. I chose the Gelatos to do this because they can lean towards being on the transparent side depending on how much you work the pigment on the page. Thus they allowed the pretty scrapbook paper to show through.
Once that was done I took a nice large floral stamp by Hero Arts, hit it with Distress ink and stamped a few areas of the layout.
It was at this point I was scratching my head wondering what to put on the page as a focal point and then decided to go with flowers. I referenced a few images on the web and then drew my flowers with my Sharpie pen, colored them in with my Inktense pencils then cut them out with my x-acto knife.
Because I knew the Gelatos and Distress ink were reactive to anything wet, I went ahead and sealed the layout with gel medium. I wanted to use gel medium to adhere the flowers to the layout and didn’t want the Distress ink or Gelatos smudging over my pretty flowers. I really would like to know what the trick is to getting Distress ink to dry thoroughly and not react to wetness. I’m fine with how the ink of the stamp smudged on this layout – it was supposed to look old and distressed anyhow. But it would have also looked equally nice if the ink hadn’t smudged.
After I stuck the flowers to the layout, I shaded around them with a dark brown Inktense pencil and wet it down to create a nice soft drop shadow.
Here I was at the tipping off point. Do I add more doodling, ephemera, paint, etc. to the layout, or do I keep it simple?
I opted for simple. I just knew I wanted to anchor the layout just a little more so decided to write a quote on the page. Since flowers were involved I looked up “garden” quotes on Google and came across the Audrey Hepburn quote:
To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. — Audrey Hepburn
The hilarious thing about this is that I screwed up writing the word “tomorrow” on the layout at first. I had even taken pictures and everything to get ready to post online and then I looked a little more closely at the word and realized I had spelled it “tommorrow” (too many m’s!)
I was worried the text was permanent but decided to go ahead and try to remove it with a baby wipe. Huzzah! The baby wipe worked! Now note this was Sharpie pen over a background that had been treated with gel medium, so I think the non-porous surface the gel medium had created helped make it so the Sharpie could be wiped off. I don’t know how successful this would be with a Sharpie marker. And I’m pretty positive it would have been hopeless if I’d done the writing straight over gesso instead.
Actually the ink didn’t fully wipe away – it left a sort of interesting ghosting look which I may use in the future. But regardless the layout was saved and I didn’t have to risk looking like a terrible speller when I posted the layout online (or I at least didn’t have to add disclaimer text to my layout saying “I know how tomorrow is spelled! I screwed up!”)
Hope you enjoyed the layout. Leave a comment below or like the page and share with your friends. :) Thanks for reading!
List of materials:
Canson Mixed Media sketchbook
Liquitex clear gesso
Golden Soft Gel (Matte)
Derwent Inktense pencils
Hero Arts stamp