Another Journey – Mixed Media Collage

Yesterday, when we arrived home after lots of errands, I felt like I needed to create another collage in my daily series.

The problem was, I was tired and cranky, and in perfectionist mode as I worked.

I think it turned out pretty well, despite how much I got in my own way.

Another Journey collage - 5 Nov 2022

I knew I wanted something that was a segue connecting to yesterday’s collage, the Journey one. So, I used another 1853 dictionary page.

This one focused on the word “Expedition,” which I’d planned to use – as a bold, text word from a travel brochure – but abandoned that bit of paper part-way through this process.

Nevertheless, that word is the entry below the word “Journey” on the right page of this two-page art journaling collage.

Over that page is the Hogwarts train from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. That’s among our favorite attractions at that park… though we didn’t go there nearly as often as we visited Walt Disney World.

Next to that is a bit of shell – mother-of-pearl – from a recent stroll along nearby Fortunes Rocks Beach (Kennebunkport, Maine).

The feather on the facing page is also from there, also creating continuity with the previous collage in this series.

The stairway is about travel but – more importantly – internal transformation… rising above where we’ve been in the past. And, again, I highlighted that with another “Journey” word at the top of that stairway.

Finally the vintage-looking bits came from a few resources.

I intend to review all of those resources, separately… as soon as I have time. (Something I say often, but don’t always follow-through with. Oops.)

I like this collage. It’s about travel – time and space – as well as rising above… finding where our next adventures will take us.

Art Journaling Ideas – Complex and Detailed (Video)

Looking for some fresh ideas to add depth to your art journaling projects?

This video – by another artist, not me – will inspire you. It includes lots… and lots… and LOTS of ideas!

Color. Texture. Paper, tapes, ribbons, and more. Wheeee!

Yes, this kind of mixed-media art can seem overwhelming to a beginner.

Even for an experienced artist, this can feel like too much.

My advice…?

Don’t try to do everything.

Watch and see what appeals to you the most.

Maybe just one or two things.

And then do that. But – of course – with your own creative “voice” and style.

After all, visual journaling is about your creative expression.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/5PlbplSnuoQ

Yes, Facebook, I’m actually Aisling D’Art.

Word Art, Fonts, and Resources

Words + art = Word art. I love it!

CreateLifeWakeUp
Click to download a printable ATC version, at 300 dpi. (You can print it larger at 150 dpi.)

Next to my bed, I keep a three-ring binder for articles that inspire me, plus notes and ideas I jot on paper, and so on.

The cover of that notebook features word art, “Create the Life You Can’t Wait to Wake Up To.”

My illustration (above) features one of my early morning sunrise sketches – an oil painting – as the background.

Even after several years of seeing it every day, I still smile as I read those words. (In a Google Image Search, you can see many more examples of that phrase, accenting art & photos, or used as word art.)

I like the term “word art” because it describes art-with-words. That includes digital and printed art, calligraphy, mailart, art journaling, coloring books, and scrapbooking… plus many other creative projects.

And I love word art because – even if you can’t draw a stick figure – you can still create lovely (even magnificent) word art.

Three parts of successful word art

Successful word art includes letters (usually as words, phrases, or longer text), so the style of the letters – the font (or fonts) – matter. So do the proportions of the letters and the layout of the text.

Of course, the message is important, too.  It should be something with an emotional impact. I like words and phrases that are uplifting and inspiring, and sometimes funny as well.

And finally, the background – if you use one – can enhance the message.

It’s ideal for all three elements to work together. But, if you’re a perfectionist, avoid tweaking more than you need to. Know when to say “good enough.”

Where to begin

Every artist has their own system for creating word art.

  • It might start with an idea they want to express.
  • They might find a quote that makes their heart sing.
  • The spark may come from a sketch, a painting, or a photo. Or a photo of art.

This morning, I started with an idea, then found a quote I liked, selected a font, and then located a background photo.

I assembled the pieces in Photoshop, but Canva, Gimp, and other free tools can produce gorgeous results, too.

Here’s what I created in about 10 minutes.

GoodLifeHappyMoments

Tomorrow, I might start with some art and then build out, adding a quote I like.

In other words, no approach is “best” and – in art – I try to avoid by-the-numbers formulas, anyway.

Next, here are some tips so you can create and enjoy word art, too.

Quote resources

Most of my word art starts with an idea. Then I look for a quote that fits it.  In case I decide to use the finished art commercially, I try to locate quotes that are in the public domain. That prevents copyright disputes.

Here are a few sites I’ve bookmarked.

You’ll also find public domain quotes at Goodreads, on pages related to individual authors’ works from before 1923, and so on.

Also, you may want to review Quick & Easy: Public Domain Quotations (legal opinions)

Once I have a quote, I look for a font (or two or three) that suits it.

Fonts for commercial use

Like other artwork, fonts can be copyrighted… as software. (It’s complex. You may want to read this article at Lawyers.com.)

Keep that in mind if you’re planning to use a font in something like a coloring book, blank journal, poster, or print-on-demand product.

Free fonts

My favorite free resources include FontSquirrel and GoogleFonts. They specialize in open source fonts, and fonts you can use (free) in commercial products.

I also use sites like DaFont, but it’s essential to check each font’s terms of use. If it’s “personal use only,” there may be a fee to use the font commercially. DaFont (and others like it) usually provide links to contact the font designer about this.

Some huge sites – like FontSpace – offer great, free fonts for personal use. However, when I searched FontSpace today, looking for commercially licensed free fonts, none of their 71,000 fonts met that one search criterion.

Fonts to purchase

When shopping for fonts, you’ll find many affordable options. Some are better than others. Frankly, many of them confirm the adage, “you get what you pay for,” but some stand out with great products, great prices, or great customer service.. or all three.

Check sites like TheHungryJPEG CreativeMarket, and Artixty. They regularly offer packages of fonts at low prices.

Generally, if I find one or two attractive fonts in a package, I’ll buy the entire package. That’s usually less expensive than buying the ones I like, individually.

(Also, I’ve had great, fast response from TheHungryJPEG’s customer support as well as CreativeMarket’s.)

However, it’s smart to double-check by searching (at Google, Qwant, etc.) for the font you like, by name. If you can’t find it, search for the name of the artist or font foundry. Sometimes, their individual fonts are very affordable.

For years, I recommended FontBundles.net and their sister site, DesignBundles.  Now, after a shockingly bad experience with their customer support – as others have, too – I will never shop there again.

In a class of its own

My all-time favorite source of paid fonts is Design Cuts. (Obviously, they offer a lot more than fonts.) They offer bundles – often themed – for around $30. They’re dazzling, and the values – sometimes in thousands of dollars – are not exaggerated.

You can also purchase individual products; the more you buy, the bigger the discounts.

For fonts, Design Cuts earns my highest praise. Their fonts are stylish and high-quality.  You won’t find anything “plain vanilla” in their bundles or their individual products.

Their customer service has been flawless, as well.

A sneaky way to get the look you want, free

There are times when you want a great, stylish font, but you can’t afford it.

Here’s are two ways to work around that:

Sneaky tactic #1: Use a screenshot of several letters in the font you want. Then, use a free font-matching service like WhatTheFont!, WhatFontIs, or FontSquirrel’s Matcherator.

See if they recommend a free or really inexpensive font that’s “close enough” to what you wanted.

Sneaky tactic #2: Search at free font sites (like DaFont) using the name of the font you like. Then try slight misspellings. If the price-y font is popular, there may be a pretty good (and free) clone of it.

Note: Be sure it’s not an outright ripoff of any commercial font.

Of course, no free or inexpensive (and legal) font is going to match the style and elegance of the original, high-priced font. But, until you can afford to buy that font, the lookalike might be all you need.

Learn the fine art of combining fonts

No matter what look you aspire to, font combinations can make a huge difference. The way fonts interact often highlights the best features of each font. In a way, it elevates the lettering into the “fine art” realm.

Search for “font combining” and you’ll find lots of advice. Add the current year (right now, that’d be “2020 font combining”) for edgy and trending combinations.

Here are a few sites to start:

Note: My header graphic on this site combines Black Diamond font (from Design Cuts) and Lato (a free font from Google Fonts).

Background art & photos

If you paint or take photos or otherwise create images you’ll use in your word art, you probably don’t need additional resources.

For everyone else, my favorite free resource is Pexels.com. The garden walk photo (in my meme-ish image, above) came from them.

If you’re planning to post your word art or memes at social media, here are the best sizes for a variety of sites: 2020 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet.

Now, go play!

I hope this article has inspired you to try some word art of your own. Whether you use it to decorate your home or office, in an Etsy product, or you share it free in memes, word art is a way to convey a powerful message.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, leave a message in the comments section below. (I read and manually approve all comments at all of my sites, and I’d love to hear from you.)


Links in this article are (deliberately) not affiliate links. I earn nothing for recommending those resources.

Art Journaling? Resist! A Sneaky Way to Add Excitement

Are you looking for an easy – and somewhat sneaky – way to add more excitement to your art journaling?

The answer may be: RESIST!

In art journaling, “resist” is a way to keep paint – and some other products – from sticking to the page. Other terms for this include: mask, masking fluid, and frisket. (You’ll see many different products at Amazon.com.)

Some resist techniques are simple, like using a white crayon on a white page. Watercolors, acrylic paint, most (not all) rubber stamp inks, and so on… they usually won’t stick to any area where the crayon wax is.

This short video shows one way to use white crayon as a resist.

Here’s another short video with some good suggestions if you’re using a white crayon as a way to keep part of your page white:

Remember that once the wax crayon has been applied, that area on your artist’s journal page won’t accept water-based media, ever. Even if you try to wipe the crayon lines off… the paint (or rubber stamp ink, etc.) probably won’t stick.

White Glue Mask/Resist

In this video, you’ll see one of Traci Bautista’s products mentioned. It’s a decoupage product, Collage Pauge, that can be uses as a resist. However, as the video explains, you can use white glue for the same purpose.

Alcohol Resist

Other resists aren’t necessarily as waterproof as crayon. Alcohol is an example. Though it can be 100% resistant to water-based pigment, sometimes it isn’t. Also, it can be harder to control than white glue, white crayon, or products designed for use as resists, masks, and friskets.

Embossing Resist (with Heat)

If you have embossing supplies, this is an innovative way to use them in your art journal, as a resist.

Resist with Adhesive Letters or Decorations

This is a fun, kind of reverse-resist approach to art journaling. First, you paint a colorful layer. Then, you add the adhesive-backed letters or shapes. (I’d use inexpensive letters, and don’t push them down too firmly.) Then you paint over the whole thing with white (or a color), and then you peel off the letters/shapes you’d stuck onto the page.

I think these ideas are kind of wonderful. I already knew a few, but – watching these videos – I’m inspired to revisit them, and try the new resist techniques, too.

Guerilla Art Kit and Other Journaling Ideas – Keri Smith

Keri Smith broke the mold when she first published her “Wreck This Journal” journals.

She’s still a great inspiration, whether you’re a beginner or a long-time scrapbooker or art journalist.

If you’re not familiar with Keri’s art & philosophy, this video may be a good place to start. It’s about 3 minutes long.

https://youtu.be/EQpoDWSHby0

If you like her message, you’ll find more,related videos at YouTube.

Also, even if you don’t speak Spanish, this 3-minute video is fascinating. Multiple artists demonstrate how they “wrecked” a Wreck This Journal (Destroza Este Diario).

https://youtu.be/uQko6xa3whE

Art Journaling – Making the Everyday Different

Would you like to sketch in your art journal or scrapbook, but need some ideas? This short (under two minutes) video is in German – with subtitles in English – and it may give you a fresh outlook.

Mr. Scheinberger talks about sketching art materials that may be at your elbow, but changing their size or proportions. In other words, make the everyday into something different.

https://youtu.be/Au9vpEaAjYc

Cute, Sweet, Illustration-Style Art Journaling

Jane Davenport has inspired many people to create elegant and charming illustrations in their journals. She’s made this easy with how-to books, as well as useful & innovative art supplies.

Here’s her story, in her own words.

I bought one of her books, Beautiful Faces, because I felt like I was getting into a rut with my usual illustration techniques. (Generally, no one is likely to call my journals “cute,” but sometimes I’m aiming for pretty… and needed some insights. Jane’s book definitely helped.)

It’s just one of Jane’s many books you’ll find at Amazon.

Next, in this demo, she shows how to use her die-cut embellishments. Wow! (I can see ways to use them in some Goth- and Steampunk-style artists’ journals, too. Purples, metallics, and so on…)

And here’s Tamara Laporte (Willowing Arts) demonstrating some of Jane’s art supplies. She starts with a blank page, then sketches in pencil, and then… well, you’ll see. (I’ve started the video at the 23-minute point. If you want to see the full unboxing, start from the beginning.)

If you like Tamara’s approach, take a look at the sample projects on her “Create Your Life” book page at Amazon. Those ideas may be all you need to start experimenting with new drawing, painting, and mixed-media techniques, right away.

But… no matter what your art journaling style, if you’re including your own illustrations, consider those materials and techniques.

Personally, I’m experimenting with magazine photos, pasting them (with gel medium) onto a painted page, sealing them with more gel medium, and then drawing & painting over them.

Lots of layers.

Not necessarily sweet or romantic, but these techniques & materials can work for more extreme artists’ journals, too.

Mixed Media Ideas for Art Maps and Landscapes

Maps, cityscapes, landscapes… they’re not just for travel journals.

There are many ways you can include them in your personal art journals, too.

First, here’s Brie Hatton demonstrating urban sketching in her art journal. For many people, this is the easiest way to draw and paint local scenery in a journal. You can go for a walk, or sketch what’s outside your window.

The full video is about six minutes long, but I’ve set this to start at the four-minute mark. At that point, she’s done a light pencil sketch and has started using a marker over it, for her final lines. That’s what interested me the most: how she completed her sketch as a finished art journaling page.

Full video link: https://youtu.be/EfzEjku3ev8

The pen she’s using for the final, darker lines is a special Sailor Fude pen you can find at Amazon.

rainbow stripe dividerMaybe drawing isn’t what you had in mind, but you’re still intrigued by landscapes.

If you’d like to create fine art abstract landscapes in your artists journal, I think Cathy Mevik’s demo will inspire you. If you’re not a painter, don’t let this scare you; I think anyone can create landscapes like these.

The video a little over 11 minutes long, but – for those who’d love to paint like this – it’s time well spent.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/HCYfAHVePMo

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At the other extreme, here’s what James Gulliver Hancock draws. It’s a two-minute video, and he explains why he draws buildings, and what he learns as he draws them.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/360r-iyK_Eg

rainbow stripe dividerAlso, I kind of love that one of his books – with buildings and maps – became an interactive exhibit. This half-minute video is worth seeing:

Video URL: https://youtu.be/DwETY_OK86w

rainbow stripe dividerIf you’d like to explore making maps, this book looks fascinating.  As soon as I saw this review video, I ordered the book. (The video is eight minutes long, but you’ll get the general idea in the first two or three minutes.)

Video URL: https://youtu.be/eKVdfRl05S0

I thought it was okay, but I’ll admit it didn’t inspire me as much as I’d hoped. Here’s the Amazon link, anyway. Use the “look inside” to decide if it’s your kind of book: The Art of Map Illustration

rainbow stripe dividerIf drawing and painting aren’t your strong suit, don’t despair. You can still bring maps and architectural designs to your journaling.

Here’s a landscape-y, map-y kind of art journaling demo. It’s by Carolyn Dube, and she uses a stencil, some acrylic paint, and a pen. The video is about four minutes long, and – once you get the idea – you can fast-forward through it to see how she completes it.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/ZUXK1HkFhiI

The stencil is by Maria McGuire for StencilGirl, and you can find a similar stencil by her – and other StencilGirl artists – at Amazon.

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And finally, for oh-my-goodness inspiration…

At first, Blythe Scott’s work may look like modern landscapes but, close-up, you’ll see mixed media elements. She’s using some materials that never crossed my mind, and they could go into a mixed media artists journals, too.

This five-minute video includes breathtaking outdoor scenes, how her art is inspired, and some great insights about studio work, using drawing, painting, and mixed media elements.

https://youtu.be/p5_oOuzpAUQ

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