“Take the gentle path” – Wanderlust week 2 art journal page


My, I have been a busy, busy blogger these past few days.

To those of you who’ve just recently begun following me, I want to warn you – this amount of activity is a little abnormal for me. Not sure what it is and why I’ve been such an art- and blog-factory lately, but there it is. Sometimes I might not get in more than one post a week. So, sorry if I’m spoiling you!

Today’s layout goes along with Wanderlust. They posted week two prompt up on the site, which was “All I really want is…”

This doesn’t follow any special techniques given, etc. It’s just a “do what feels right” kind of layout.

I was really wanting this week to do a repeat of a different layout I had done early on when I first began my art journaling journey. In fact the layout to which I am referring was so early on that I don’t think I even blogged about it because it was before I made the decision to start keeping a blog (and I haven’t back-blogged the layout yet, and not sure if I ever will.)

painting-1Regardless, this older layout is by far one of my favorite layouts I’ve done. I love the colors, the elements, and the composition. I wanted to sort of bring it back to life in a different yet similar way.

Now, the message on the layout itself really doesn’t fall in line with the prompt given by the Wanderlust class at all. Ultimately what I decided I really wanted yesterday was just to do a great layout. And I did write that thought on the page, but I covered it over because I didn’t want that to be such a focal point.

Here are the steps I took to put this together.

First step was gessoing the spread in my Wanderlust book very liberally. I used my Liquitex white gesso and did two layers. The first layer I put down with an old gift card, smearing it to make an interesting texture. I dried that layer thoroughly with my heat tool then went back over with a second generous layer of gesso painting it on with a fan brush I have specifically set aside just for applying gesso.

Once the second layer was dried I decided to play with my Gelatos. I have a whole bunch of new ones from holiday gifts and I was excited to play with them. I used many different colors: Orange Soda, Orange, Red, Banana, Gold Champagne, Iced Chai, Cinnamon, and Iced Coffee. I ended up putting down two layers of them. I scribbled them on the page, gave them a good misting of water, then smeared the color around with my finger. When I put down the second layer, I used the Iced Coffee color for the first time and found it to be pretty dark, so I lifted some of that color from the center of the layout using a baby wipe. I then added little hints of blue here and there along the edges of the layout with the Snow Cone color.

I gave it a good drying with my heat tool, then wrote down what I was thinking I really wanted with my Sharpie Pen… forgetting that Sharpie pens do NOT like writing over Gelatos. The waxy texture of them resists the ink very heavily – or it seems to attach itself to the nib of the pen and the pen sort of sinks into the medium. It was a bit of a struggle to get the full thought written down.

path-prog-1In any case, the message I wrote myself was: “What I really want is to do an amazing layout just for today.” Really. There are lots of things that I really want, but many of them are quite personal to me and I knew I wanted to put this online so chose to stick with a simpler goal to share instead of sharing my hearts desires with the entire world. (There’s a time and a place, ya know?)

At this point I decided I wanted to figure out what element to attach to the page over the top of my scribbling. I had a watercolor piece I had done previously where I thought I was going to put it on the cover of a coptic stitch journal but ended up deciding against using it for that. So I had it sitting around ready to be put into an art journal project instead and the time finally arose.

I tore a piece of it off that was in blues and greens in the width I wanted for the journal. To get the fairly straight lines, I used my metal ruler, holding it down in place while I tore the paper towards me.

The blues on the piece were a little too much on the violet side for my liking. I wanted more greens in it so I accomplished this by scribbling over it with some more Gelatos – this time in Snow Cone, Margarita Mix and Iced Pear. Same as before, I misted the colors then smeared them around with my finger. The colors came out perfect.

I wanted to have some Zentangle elements peeking out from behind this blue strip, so I first drew some onto the layout with a Bic Mark-It marker (handles going over the top of Gelatos much better than the Sharpie pen.)

I then adhered the blue strip to the page using Golden Soft Gel Matte. It was at this point I decided to seal the entire layout with the gel medium in case I wanted to do any further drawing on it and not have to fight with the Gelatos.

path-prog-2Once the gel medium was dried, I had to kind of step back from the layout for a bit and figure out what I wanted to do with it. Do I put a sentiment on the blue strip? Do more Zentangles all over the layout? Add more color?

I took it into the living room with me and put it on the coffee table while I put a movie on Netflix. I watched Robinson Crusoe with Pierce Brosnan. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the man overact so much in all my life. Ultimately didn’t care for the movie much at all, which was good because it made more for background chatter while I worked on my layout some more.

When I looked at the blue strip I had put down, it really had a sort of cloudy appearance to me that made me think of those beautiful asian paintings with the tall, misty mountains. I determined that’s what I wanted to put on the blue strip, so I did a google search for such paintings and used them for reference for my drawing. I used my Faber-Castell PITT artist pens to make the drawing, taking advantage of their smudge-ability over non-porous surfaces (which the gel medium layer provided.) The smudging helped create some of the soft edges you sometimes see in those paintings.

For the darker elements, like the foreground trees, I used my Sharpie pen.

path-prog-3After the illustration was complete, I drew some more swirly lines around parts of the layout to help pull everything together.

I was still left with a huge empty space on the right-hand side of the layout and decided at length to find a neat quote and put it there using some of the brush lettering techniques I have been practicing lately.

I came across the quote “Take the gentle path” by George Herbert and thought it worked well with the layout because the foot of the drawing on the blue strip looks sort of like an open path.

I did some practice runs of the lettering on a scrap piece of paper. You can see where I was working out connecting the “t” and the “h” together in an effective manner.


path-prog-5The scary part came when I put the pen to my layout. I did a small test sample on the page where I put down some ink then wiped it off with a baby wipe. This worked successfully so I felt a little less intimidated about putting the words down – I could “erase” any mistakes with a baby wipe if I worked quickly.

I ultimately ended up erasing the “gentle path” portion a couple times because I wasn’t liking how it came out. Hopefully this is a helpful tip for all of you to tuck away.

The layout still needed something more to pull it all together. I decided at length to add a couple more thinner strips of the watercolored paper. I’m really happy with that decision.

The only thing that makes me a little discontent with the layout is the positioning of the text of the sentiment. Had I put down the blue strip that’s to the right of it earlier, I would have written the text further to the left so it would be centered better. The graphic designer in me really wants to grab that text and move it left, lol.

gentlepath-4But it’s there for good now – I think if I attempted to erase it now it would make a big mess. When the ink from those PITT pens dries completely, it is permanent.

gentlepath-5I put a final touch to the layout by inking up all the edges using a makeup sponge saturated with black Archival ink.

I still don’t think it’s as good as my other layout, but it’s still pretty, nonetheless. I really like the colors, and I’m pretty happy with how my brush lettering came out.

Hope you enjoyed the layout. Please leave a comment, like or share the page! Thank you!

List of materials:

Altered Hallmark writing journal
Liquitex white gesso
Faber-Castell Gelatos
Torn watercolored paper
Golden Soft Gel Matte
Bic Mark-it marker
Sharpie pen
Faber-Castell PITT artist pens

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