While towards the end, the 9×12 Canson started to grow on me and I became accustomed to working on large single page layouts, I am happy to be returning to spreads. For whatever reason, they feel more manageable, despite that in essence they’re close to the same amount of real estate to work on.
I also enjoy the element of surprise they provide, flipping through a book you’re greeted with an entire spread of one gorgeous design instead of being introduced to two designs at once.
I do have a 9×12 Strathmore watercolor book on reserve, however, should I feel I want to work on a larger single-page layout or be wanting to avoid having a crease down the middle of my art.
This layout was completed surprisingly quickly for me. And, I admit, there is a layout that precedes this in my new Ranger Dylusions Creative Journal that I’m not sure I want to share because it’s just so dang busy. Especially in comparison to this layout. I finished that layout on the same day I finished this one, as well.
But I absolutely love how this one turned out… the colors, the flow, the elements. So I’m eager to share it.
I began this layout by tearing up and adhering a few strips of paper that were the instructions / demo page that came with my set of Speedball dip pens. I loved the gorgeous calligraphy and script samples on it and thought they’d make a fantastic backdrop.
Once those were down, I added some remnants of paper that had been torn from a wire binder – the part where the holes are in the paper, as you can see, on the edges of the layout.
I glued both the aforementioned elements to the page with Golden Soft Gel Matte.
Once those were dried (using my heat tool), I brushed a light and loose coat of Liquitex white gesso over the page with a fan brush, being careful to not cover up too much of the text from the torn pieces of paper.
This received another drying, then it was time to add color.
For this I went with a combination of Artist’s Loft acrylics in Aqua Green, Naples Yellow and Deep Magenta. I applied the paint using my finger since I wanted to use a delicate touch. I was also clear that I did not want the color all over the entire layout – just along the middle, covering over the calligraphic text. Fortunately the acrylics, when worked the right way, do not stay totally opaque so the background text was still able to peek through. I ended up doing two coatings of the paint, as well, to really get the color to pop.
I dried this again and then added interest to the page by using what was the plastic core from a roll of Scotch Tape that had been used up. I dipped this into some Faber-Castell chalkboard paint, which happens to be an extremely wet (possibly oily) medium. Naturally the wetness of the chalkboard paint created some interesting running and bleeding. I stamped this pattern in a few places over the layout then hit it with my heat tool.
I added splatters with a thin brush in black and white over the layout with wet-down Liquitex white gesso and some more of the Faber-Castell chalkboard paint. I threw down the gesso first. I had quite a bit of a puddle of the gesso left over after I was done adding the splatters, so I dabbed up what remained with a dry baby wipe and dabbed it in places on the layout, lightly overlapping some of the colors’ edges.
Next was adding the splatters of the chalkboard paint. When I was done with the splatters, I found I had quite a bit of it still sticking to my brush so I painted a couple of little swirls on the layout with the remaining paint and hit the edges in a couple of spots with the dark paint, too.
More drying and then it was time to add the sentiment.
This page said “Creativity” to me, so that’s what I went for.
I wrote the sentiment on the page using a dip pen with India ink.
I admittedly have little to no experience using dip pens currently, so my lettering is quite shaky and loose, but I find that fit perfectly with the layout.
There you have it. I love this so much. I currently have my journal standing open to this layout on my desk. I suspect I might do another very similar to this in the next entry, too, since it was so fun to do, and really fast, too. If I remove the drying time, this probably only took me about 30 minutes to an hour to do.
Hope you enjoyed the layout. Please leave a comment, like or share the page! Thank you!
List of materials:
Ranger Dylusions Creative Journal
Torn calligraphy instructions
Torn spiral-bund paper edges
Golden Soft Gel Matte
Liquitex White Gesso
Artist’s Loft Acrylics
Faber-Castell Chalkboard Paint