Magpie Journals

Magpie Journals - videos, how-to, free clipartA magpie journal is a wonderful concept. (Magpies are known for collecting all kinds of things, especially shiny objects… but that may be just a legend.)

What are magpie journals, in the art journaling community…?

They’re an assortment of things you’ve collected, organized as (or in) a journal. Or something journal-ish.

  • They may be random or themed.
  • They can be entirely paper, or mixed media, and include random objects.
  • Items can be glued, sewn, clipped, or collaged to your pages. (There are no limits.)
  • Don’t want to attach the item? Can’t attach it? Some items could be in pockets or fold-outs.

The earliest magpie journals I could find were from a 2012 Swap-bot swap.

Magpie Journals, in Videos

Here’s a late 2013 video – about 7 minutes long – of one of those early, Swap-bot magpie journals. You’ll get the idea in the first few minutes. It’s by Diane Baker-Williams.

Link: https://youtu.be/_SGztluUtFg

Next, take a look at this 2-minute video by Wishfulkelly, and it’s described as a smash book / glue book / Magpie journal. It’s a very quiet video, with music playing faintly in the background. It’s fun.

Link: https://youtu.be/Hzy6x87zIDA

The next video is by Paula Foerder. It’s about 20 minutes long. (Her magpie journal, shown page-by-page, fills about 15 minutes of the video.) Even if you watch just two or three minutes of this, I think you’ll glean some delightful ideas.

Link: https://youtu.be/RCfSp1LanFM

Next, Elizabeth Metz (Conifer Crow) creates “magpie bundles,” which are mixed media journals you can leave as-is, or take apart, embellish, and add to. The following is a 6-minute video showing one of her smaller bundles. (This one has already sold.)

I like this video as a starting point, to imagine my own mixed-media magpie journals.

Link: https://youtu.be/Ha931rXhY-E

Also, you’ll find lots of inspiration at Theresa Mask’s Magpie Journal Pinterest board.

Free Magpie Clipart

If you’d like to create your own magpie journal, here’s a sheet of printable clipart to get you started. It was created at 300 dpi, which means you could probably enlarge the pictures to double their size (at 150 dpi) and they might look fine.

The original is black & white. If you print it on heavy paper, you could color it with paint, pens, colored pencils, etc.

I’ve tried to place the images far enough apart that you can cut each one out (or tear it out) to use in collage.

Free magpie journal clipart

To download, click on the picture
or use this link: http://bit.ly/magpiepix
(You can share that link, too. It’s a PDF at Google Drive.)

Art Journaling with Magazine Images – Part 1

Art journaling with magazine collages - how-to videos and tutorialsI’ve always been enthusiastic about collages made with images from books and magazines. It’s something anyone can do, with no art training at all.

Since the 1990s, that was one of my missions: To show people – especially women – that they could express themselves in art, no matter what.

Initially, I focused on torn-paper collages, because they were easy and were supposed to look a little “messy.”

Also, some of the words & slogans in magazine advertisements… wow! They can be great lines to include in your artist’s journal.

If you’re art journaling with magazine photos and text here are some videos that may inspire you.

First, a short video of Kelly Kilmer flipping through some of her artist’s journals. She uses lots of magazine images in her work, but also pens, paint and other fine art supplies.

Not seeing that video? It's at https://youtu.be/gVfe1wlwbd0 where you can find more of Kelly's art journaling videos, too.

In the next video, you’ll see how pitje4life adds magazine images – one over another – in her journal. (This starts part-way through the video, where she’s actually putting the images on the page.)

I don’t recommend using white glue to attach paper, because you risk it bubbling the paper, even after it’s dry. But… I’ll talk about that, later. First, the video:

Link: https://youtu.be/uo0Wsf2kaqc

Instead of white glue, I recommend something like Golden acrylic medium (Soft Gel, Gloss). I apply it gently with a sponge brush. Then I place the paper where I want it to stay. After that, I leave it as it is.

Do not smooth it, or you’ll stretch the damp paper and it will stay bubbled after it dries.

(I learned that technique from collage artist Claudine Hellmuth, when we both taught at Artfest.)

Also – from my experience – I have better luck letting the collage air-dry, instead of applying heat. (Your mileage may vary.)

Or, you could try gluesticks, as Jenn does in the following video. It’s about 10 minutes long, and she shows you exactly how her two-page collage came together. It’s from the “One Magazine Challenge.”

Her YouTube channel is Art Therapy with Jenn. Video link: https://youtu.be/H6FFrTRLf84

And, if you’re wondering where artists find delightful and deliciously quirky images for these kinds of collages, here’s Colleen McCulla‘s seven-minute video explaining her resources.

Link: https://youtu.be/EfliO_D78QE

I hope those videos inspired you to create some magazine collages in your artist’s journals. (I can hardly wait to start a new journal, after seeing these.)

If you have any questions or tips, I hope you’ll leave a comment, below.

Folded Paper Art Journals

Simple Folded Paper Art JournalsArtists’ journals can be as big – or small – as you like, especially if you make them by hand.

You can even start with a single sheet of paper and – in just a minute or two – fold it into a simple journal.

Here are some videos to inspire you.

Folded Journal One

First, here’s a video by Cathy Johnson. She’s probably best known for her watercolors and mixed media art. Here’s part of her longer video about folded-page journals.

To see the entire video from the beginning, visit https://youtu.be/CffQyRdTDUc

And, you can subscribe to Cathy’s YouTube channel … she’s posted many videos to inspire you!

Folded Journal Two

Of course, you don’t have to stop with a single sheet of paper. For a larger journal – or a journal-inside-a-journal – you could add more (and larger) sheets of paper.

LK Ludwig – part of the original artists’ journals movement – filmed this several years ago. In less than a minute, you can see various ways she uses fold-out pages in one of her handmade journals.

I think those are brilliant folding ideas, to get the most from any artist’s journal.

Here’s the link to her YouTube channel: Lk Ludwig

But maybe you want something small, different, and a little quirky. The next couple of videos may inspire you.

Folded Journal Three

This one is a journal-in-a-journal, best if you want to expand an existing journal. It’s from Paper Pixie, and it’s a fun idea.

You can watch this video and others at Paper Pixie's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrE5BOtFFlaurAulAU3C0Ig

Folded Journal Four

This video is longer than the others – a little over six minutes – and filled with ideas. In some ways, it’s similar to Cathy’s video… but this is simpler. Also, unless you attach a couple of these – back to back – it produces an art journal with fewer pages.

I love this concept if you’re starting with scrapbooking paper, or sheets of paper ephemera.

It’s one of many projects Maremi features at her YouTube channel.

What are your favorite folded journal ideas? I hope you’ll share your thoughts in comments, below.

Video: How to make an altered book art journal

This is a lovely demonstration by Art by Silas. It shows how to create a mixed media artist’s journal. It includes torn paper collage – one of my favorite techniques. And it’s a good way for a beginner to get art journaling ideas. (The video is about five and a half minutes long.)

Here’s the video:

[ezps_tp_post_layout video=”GNJqKVtb_ac” description=”Welcome in my altered art journal tutorial when I´m showing you how to make an altered book journal. This video is also full of art journaling techniques and it´s great for beginners.”

#alteredartjournal #alteredbook #silasart” subscribe=”UCRRDf_Fljqsfh3S-AASHaqw”]

If you like this video, be sure to see Silas’ other videos at YouTube.

Enthusiasm is Contagious

Enthusiasm is contagious - posterThis has been a transformative week… in a year of “ah-HA!” transitions and cool discoveries.

I’m re-energized and planning very cool projects.

To celebrate, I’m sharing a door sign* that I created. It’s where my mind is, at the moment.

You have two options. Or you can choose both. (Why make decisions when both choices are fun…? )

  1. You can download & print the original, black-and-white copy, and color it yourself. (Btw, neither of the prints have the “Aisling.net” text on them.) Here’s the link to the printable, b&w PDF: https://drive.google.com/open?id=18tXNToRKW0w1z7k9Sup-gSJ8YJscu1OK
  2. You can download & print a copy of the one I colored (with colored pencils). Here’s the link to that PDF: https://drive.google.com/open?id=18tXNToRKW0w1z7k9Sup-gSJ8YJscu1OK

If you’d like to share this blog post with friends, use this URL: http://bit.ly/enthusiasm4u (On a PC, right-click on the link and choose “Copy link address.”)

Door hanger at Aisling's homeMore info…

*Starting at Earth Day 2018, I decided to spread some everyday happiness with my neighbors, the UPS guy, people dropping off Amazon stuff, etc. So, I began putting a daily, decorated motivational message on my front door.

To do that, I bought a clear plastic frame thingie at Amazon. I tied a ribbon through the two holes at the top, and made it long enough to use as a hanger.

(Changing the sign, daily, is super-easy. The frame is open on three sides, so swapping signs takes less than 30 seconds.)

Then I hung it from a 3M Command Outdoor Hook (which doesn’t damage the door). The illustration shows today’s door sign.

So, that’s one thing you can do with signs like this.

I also have them on my laundry room door, in my kitchen, in the bathroom, and in the bedroom. Because I can. And these bring smiles to everyone who sees them.

Free Writing Paper – Hippie-Style

This project started as my personal notepaper. Then… it sort of grew.

At first, I wrote my messages in the white rectangle in the middle. Then, I hand-colored the border design.

Last week, I realized I could print these for the children in my family, so they had an area to color, but also an area to draw in. (They’re at the age where they love coloring, but they also love to draw.)

And then, I decided to make these available to everyone, free.

Click on each image below, and the related PDF will open for you to download.  (These are 8 1/2″ x 11″ pages, and each graphic is linked to a different PDF.)

And then… I realized my other neighbors might enjoy this writing paper, too. So, I got an easy-to-remember Bit.ly URL, Free2Color.

After that, I created the following sign, colored it (by hand, of course), and taped it to our front door.

Free coloring pages and writing paper.

This goes along with another recent, hippie-style project for my neighbors:

Every morning during the week of Earth Day, I put a new message in one of my front windows. I printed the signs large enough so passers-by could read them when they’re on their way to work, or walking their dogs.

Most of the messages came from late 1960s’ and early 70s’ songs… things from Woodstock and the hippie era, in general. Others reflected similar attitudes.

Here were a few of them, stacked on my floor.

Window signs with happy quotes.

If you like this window-sign idea, the font is Elsie Swash Caps Black font, and the size should be at least 120 pts to be read by people passing by your home. (For other signs, I’ve used Placard GF at about 150 pts, and a few similar fonts.)

Generally, I printed them on two sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ paper, horizontal, and then I taped them together to make the window sign.

But then, I decided to create actual door signs, and color them. (They’re smaller and more fun to create. Generally, I design, print, and color them in one-week batches, in front of the TV.) You can download some of my door signs – already colored, or b&w copies you can color, yourself – at my Enthusiasm is Contagious post.

These projects come from my “still a hippie” soul, with the idea that doing nice things for other people – and putting more happiness into the world – is the right thing to do.

 

Yes, I Color in My Own Books…

Good Vibes - Aisling's coloring demonstration.Do I color my own coloring pages? Yes, I do.

As a coloring book artist, I think it’s important to color your own drawings, so you understand the experience.

It’s why I create lots of different kinds of coloring books. Some people want big, bold areas to color. They want to complete them in one sitting.

Others want tiny, detailed areas, and pages that take a long time to complete.

And some want a mix of both in every coloring book.

My “Good Vibes” coloring book is a mix. This video shows one of my more detailed designs, and how I colored it. (It was a stressful, not-enough-sleep week, and coloring this was a way for me to get the tension out.)

I’ll post more videos like this, as I color my own pages. They may give you some ideas for how you’d color them… or, hey, maybe how you wouldn’t! LOL

Also, I was using three brands of coloring pencils: Pluqis, Prismacolor, and Staedtler.

I was impressed with Pluqis. For the low price, I expected very hard leads that wouldn’t blend well.

Instead, I love them. They’re not as brilliant as Prismacolor colors, but I often use Pluqis first. Then, I add dazzle with Prismacolor coloring (lightly) over the Pluqis areas, or using Prismacolor for highlights & shadows.

Tip: Prismacolor leads can be just slippery/oily enough that it’s difficult to color over them… unless you’re using another Prismacolor pencil, that is.

So, I usually sketch in my color ideas with Pluqis, first. If I don’t bear down too heavily on the paper, I can usually color over Pluqis with Prismacolor… but not always vice versa.

Prismacolor Manga pencilsPrismacolor pencils are pretty much the top of the line for most coloring book enthusiasts. They’re soft, they blend well, and… yes, the price can be daunting. I bought their Manga set, which is priced fairly low at Amazon.com, and it includes some good, juicy brights and subtle darks.

I also use Staedtler’s bright colors (with soft leads), but – to be honest – they’re in third place. Where I used to use Staedtler, I now use Pluqis when I can.

However, I know people who consider Staedtler the absolute best among colored pencils. So, it’s probably a matter of taste. And, sometimes Staedtler is the only line with the exact color that I need.

I hope those tips help. I’ll share more creative ideas – and coloring videos – soon.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll try my Good Vibes coloring book, and let me know what you’d like more of, in the future.

Planting a Kitchen Garden from Cuttings – Easy Green Onions & Mint

This Christmas – like last year – we started kitchen gardens for friends & family.

They’ve been a great success. (My own green onions have been thriving for over a year now. I just keep cutting them back – to use in recipes – and the plants regrow bigger & more flavorful every time.)

Today, we delivered four green onion plants (already started) as Boxing Day gifts to the four managers of the apartments where we live.

If this sounds interesting to you, here are links to the instruction sheets (PDFs) I created. They explain how to start your own kitchen garden, using items from the produce department at your grocery store.

Planting a kitchen garden from cuttings: Green onions

Planting a kitchen garden from cuttings: Mint

Two Christmas Coloring Books and a Free Download

As you may have noticed, I’ve been on a coloring book binge, this past year.

Christmas coloring book - vol 2
Click here to order this book at Amazon.

Christmas is no exception. So far, I’ve created two Christmas coloring books. They’re filled with ornaments you can color, cut out, embellish, and display. Each is designed to hang on your tree, your Christmas wreath, or as part of a holiday mobile or something.

(Of course, if you celebrate holidays other than Christmas, these ornaments still work. The designs are entirely abstract.)

These Christmas coloring books start taking my coloring-ish books in a slightly new direction. I’m including more craftsy ideas in them.

These books include four pages of how-to ideas to do more with the ornaments… like fasten them to paper garlands. Or scan them, print them on fabric, and make quilted ornaments with them. (Or even use them as centerpieces for each square in a quilt.)

A preview of 2017…? Maybe.

For 2017, I’m starting to focus on different, creative projects. Things that take me back to my artsy-craftsy roots.

See… a few decades ago (it sounds SO weird to say that), I used to create monthly, full-page crafts pages for Lady’s Circle magazine. Each of my pages would include a simple pattern for a creative project. And then… I’d go wild with lots of ideas to use that pattern in a variety of ways.

It all started when I created a simple teddy bear design, and turned him into a “no-sew” crafts project. It involved natural herbs that repelled moths, and teddy would become an ornament-sachet to hang in your closet.

He was a huge success. Lady’s Circle readers responded with enthusiasm.

And… I kept creating designs (and myriad ideas for using them), month after month, until the magazine changed editorial direction, a couple of years later.

I loved creating those projects, and I think I want to get back to that for 2017. I’m still thinking about it.

In fact, I’m re-reading Amanda Palmer’s book, “The Art of Asking,” and Cory Doctorow’s book “Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free,” to reconsider my business models.

My hippie impulses are kicking in again, hard. And, I’m looking at ways to make lots more treats available, free… while still being able to earn a living.

So, my websites may start looking very different in 2017.

Meanwhile, back at ye olde  Christmas drawing board…

I’m working on these Christmas ornament coloring books. The first two are in Amazon right now. (At least one more may follow, in the next week or so.)

Each book includes:

  • Over 180 unique, round ornaments in different sizes and styles. (I haven’t counted, but I know the number is over 180, and I’m pretty sure it’s over 200.)
  • All designs are printed on one side of the page. So, there’s no bleed-through of ink… unless you’re using really juicy markers, I suppose.
  • Every ornament is designed to color, cut out, and hang on your Christmas tree or wreath. (Or tape to your window. Or iron onto a tee shirt with the appropriate — or inappropriate — holiday greeting. Go ahead. Have fun with this.)
  • Also: Four pages of decorating and crafts ideas, to get the most from these ornaments. (That’s what I referred to, earlier in this article. It’s a “sneak preview” of what I’m considering for 2017.)
  • Bonus: Two Christmas wreaths to color and decorate. Cut ’em out. Tape them to your dorm or apartment door. Or to your cubicle. Instant Christmas spirit!
  • Plus: Additional pages of Christmas ornament coloring pages. Most started as experiments, as I designed my holiday books. (Some worked out better than others, but I figured all of them were good enough to share, anyway.)
  • And sample pages from a few of my other coloring books.

Both books are suited to family activities. I tested them with children as young as three years old, and with adults. Everyone enjoyed them.

So, you can color your ornaments now, and display them at your home or office.

OR, you can plan this as a family activity, during holiday get-togethers. (They’re also ideal for classrooms and Scout meetings, “girls’ night out” activities, etc.)

So far, Volumes 1 & 2

Christmas coloring book ornaments - vol 1The coloring designs in Volume 1 (black background cover) are more ornate and detailed, but still in my usual “hippie style.” If you liked 1960s art by Peter Max, and the designs in the Beatles’ film, “Yellow Submarine,” this is the book you’ll want.

(Not sure? See the freebie sampler page, linked below.)

Volume 2 (white background cover) is more relaxed, and all the ornaments feature loops, swirls, and circle artwork. They’re probably faster to color.

And, remember: My coloring books are priced super-low, and each books’ copyrights include my formal okay to copy for personal use. So, go ahead and share these ornament pages with your students. Or your friends.

Links to buy at Amazon:

Here’s a sampler of the ornaments in Volume 1: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8noedrX-LRwNGNBTm5FaVpscEk/view (That’s a free download you can print.)

Free Coloring Page – Garden-style

garden-y coloring page -- free downloadYes, this seems like a good day for a free coloring page.

I’m working on a couple of new coloring book series. So, I’m happy to share one of the pages.

I draw these by hand, and then clean up the lines (just a little) in Photoshop.

So, they’re kind of irregular. They’re kind of organic. And, yes, they’re a style I’ve been drawing in, since my early teens.

(As a teen, at the local public library, I created each summer’s reading program artwork for the Children’s Reading Room. It was almost always in this style… wavy, wobbly, and fantastical.)

Here’s the link to the free coloring page: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8noedrX-LRwWW1VMnlWU0lIeE0

If you’d like to share the link with a shorter URL, this works, too: http://tinyurl.com/zwyp7rd

It’s a hand-drawn coloring page — 8.5″ x 11″ — that you can download and print as a PDF.

I’m preparing a new coloring book series in this style. It should be available in early 2017.