The Imaginoreaum-a video studio tour

To help kick off my blog and celebrate the return of regular posts here to my blog. 😊 I have done a video tour of my art studio. So you can see where all the creative madness takes place. I also wanted to share how I squirrel away all my tools and art fodder in my little basement studio.

Here are 2 panoramas I took of my studio to give you an overview.

My studio 1

Panorama from the front corner. On the left is my art journal desk and on the right my standing framing desk. My studio 2Panorama from the back corner. From here you can see all 3 of my work stations, left framing desk center my easel and far right my art journal desk. And of course lots of shelves for storage for all my art hoard. Here is the full video tour


Super Easy Stencil Tutorial

Hi everyone,

Sorry it has been ao long since I have posted but it has been a busy summer for me. For most of June I was taking care of my Grrandma after her sugary and she has no internet. So that put me way behind on everything. To kick things back off I thought I would share a super easy way to make a stencil.

For this project all you need is:

1. A craft knife/ or swivel knife [I have this swivel knife from Hobby Lobby that I love]

2. A 4×6 print of a simple graphic image [Both CVS and Walgreens often have their photo prints on sale for 10 cent each]

3. A cutting board/mat

I started with a 4×6 print of this image of stained glass that I took:

DSC_3097 - Version 2I chose to use this for my test stencil because it is super easy design to cut out because you just follow the lines. So that is what I did I just chose one of the colored panels and cut along the black lines:

IMG_8591 - Version 2

In some areas I had to make the lines thicker so that my stencil would be strong enough,you want your lines between the cut outs to be about 1/4 and inch thick.I also tried to leave about a 1/2 inch border around the edges. Where I needed to make the lines thicker I just drew in the print with a sharpie and then cut along those lines:IMG_8576 - Version 2


When you have all your sections cut out your done! You now have a fun new stencil to play with in your art journal and mixed media projects!  The photo print yields a quite sturdy stencil, and it is super easy because the design is already done for you. Using a stained glass pic was perfect for this but anything simple and graphic would work like large flowers of graphic shadows. Even buildings with strong architectural lines, or a skyline would work. Here is what my finished stencil looked like:

Finished stencil

Finished stencil

The back of the stencil:

Back of the finished stencil

After I made my stencil of course I had to test it so I just grabbed a handy magazine add and a sharpie and stenciled away:

the stencil on the page using 2 repeats of the stencil

Detail I embellished the blue sharpie with a white paint pen, I also tried to color match the purple and greens in the image and colored the white text to make the printing in the ad disappear :

IMG_8581 - Version 2


Here is the finished page. I used the stencil about 6 different times a crossed the page. using it bolth face up and face down to get the mirror image of the design:

my finished stencil test page Finished page with stencil

I am very happy with how the stencil held up after use with pens and markers. But the color from the sharpie did bleed on the back paper of the print a bit. So I think I am going to put a coat or 2 of some acrylic satin varnish on the back before I try to use the stencil with wet media like paint or spray ink. I hope you find this tutorial inspiring and I would love to see how your stencils turn out if you make some of your own!




Update: I did coat the back of my photo print stencil with 2 coats of Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic satin varnish. I then let it dry over night and then used the stencil with both acrylic paint and brushed on ink. I am happy to report that it worked with both brilliantly, and then was easily cleaned (both front and back) with a damp cloth. I am continuing to be impressed with the durability of this little stencil. Below is my test page that I made, the blue on the right is the acrylic and the green is the ink:


Also if you would like to try and make your own stained glass photo print stencil. But happen to not have any photos of stained glass laying around, you can check out my Stained Glass photos in my smugmug gallery. You can even buy prints of ones that you like right from there and make them in to stencils for your personal use. I would love to see how they turn out if you do!

Swatches Art journal page-10/31/2013

I have done a little of everything in my art journal now. I was getting to know what would and media and materials would and would not work successfully with the paper in my encyclopedia. It has become clear from my experimenting so far that, acrylic paint, pens and markers. Work the best and would be my primary artistic tools from here on. Which is exciting for me because until now I have used a lot of acrylic and watercolor paint, and water color pencils. I am very comfortable using them, I know what I can achieve with them. But pens, brush pens and markers are not something I have very much experience with.

As I embarked on my art journaling adventure to try new media and new techniques. Having to use a new medium as my primary one fits in perfectly with that. I have now amassed a nice collection of pens, markers etc. and thought it would be nice to do a page of “swatches” that I can refer to that shows exactly what all my drawing materials look like on the paper in my art journal. So I left the top half of the page raw and painted the lower half with gesso (I have 3 colors white, gray and cream.) Just because it is practical does not mean it can’t also be pretty. With my basic shape stencil I used the different shapes to differentiate what kind of pen or marker each one is as well as to look pretty. Swatches Page process  1Swatches Page process  2 I used hexagons for the brush pens:Swatches Page process  4

Squares for the Itoya calligraphy markers. Triangles for the double tipped calligraphy markers. Swatches Page process  5I just used diagonal lines for the normal pens so it would easily show the width of the pen nib.Swatches Page process  6For the sake of space I just did a grid over the gessoed part of the page and used 1 box per color. With labeling between the different kinds of pen/markers:Swatches Page process  8 Swatches Page process  10 Swatches Page process  13

I bought some more brush pens later on so I just added more hexagons:Swatches Page process  14

and some more triangles:Swatches Page process  15 Swatches Page process  16Above each pen line I added the name and nib size:Swatches Page process  17Over the white gesso:Swatches Page process  18 The finished swatches spread:The finished swatches spreadThis was a fun and helpful spread to do, it appealed to my german love of order and method.


Art is the Filter

Art journal page from October 28-30th 2013
One of the objectives that I have set for myself doing this altered book art journal. Is to use what is existing on the original encyclopedia page to my advantage. To take what is there and amplify it, or use it as a jumping off point for my art work. I don’t want to just cover up what is there, I want to use it as a vital,component of my final work of art work. This page in particular really exemplifies successfully meeting that objective.

As soon as I saw this page I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I wanted to take the existing shapes on the page and continue them out across the page turning them into a larger pattern. When I first saw this page I was immediately drawn to the simple geometric shapes around the fluid flowing blue. The original page was a diagram of different kinds of filters they use to reduce air pollution, with two columns  of text underneath:creating the pattern(I of course forgot to take a pic until I had drawn my lines over the text, silly me.) As you can see in the pic above, first I took my black ITOYA Doubleheader Calligraphy marker and  drew my geometric framework from the existing uiilstration down to the bottom it the filterThen I used my dark blue Stained by Sharpie, brush pen to draw in the blue fluid swirly-ness. The Stained brush pens are intended for fabric but I have found that they work great on the paper in my encyclopedia. The blue was a great match for the darker blue color that was in the original illustration. I also added the yellow accents, with my ITOYA Doubleheader Calligraphy marker, color Dijon. Which was an almost perfect match for the yellow in the illustration.

Duplicating the existing illustration to create the pattern up to the top of the page:Duplicating the existing illustration to create the pattern.

Continuing the patter up to the top of the page.

Continuing the pattern up to the top of the page.

art it the filterAfter I put in all the blue on the bottom of the page I felt that is needed some more yellow to balance it out. So I added the yellow radiating curves around the far right column.Art is the filter page  9Art is the filter page  4The Bottom section. After all my pattern was drawn I also decided to cover the surrounding text on the bottom of the page with gray to help visually “knock it back”.

Details of the finished page:art is the filter art is the filter Mechanical Collector

the top section

Finished top section

the original illustration with embellishments. I added the dark blue over parts of the existing illustration. as well as made some of the black lines thicker to match the parts I drew:

Art is the filter page  3

Art is the filter page  4

Finished bottom section of the page.

and of course I like to sign and date each page when I finish it.I like to sign and date each page when I finish it I started the page on October 28th and finished it on the October the 30th.

The full finished page:the finished Art is the Filter page

This is one of my favorite pages because when I set out to make this encyclopedia in to an altered book art journal this is what I wanted it to be. taking the already great illustrations that it contained expand and enhance them. Taking what was an outdated and cast aside relic of the pre-digital age and reincarnating it into a fascinating, enduring and beautiful work of art that will withstand the test of time. So this page is one of my favorites because with this page at least I feel I have successfully met those goals.

Enter the Dark Forest

Where do I start my pages? Sometimes I start with a color, or an Idea of what I want to draw. or I start with a collage image, or a page in my encyclopedia that inspires me. For this page I started with a collage image:

Which measures about 4″ square, as soon as I saw it I could see in my minds eye the black and white forest growing up, moody and mysterious, around it on the page. Starting from that inspiration I went flipping through my encyclopedia to find the page it should go on.

This is the page I chose for my, enter the dark forest spread. I chose it for 2 reasons:
1. On the left hand page I thought the many small columns already were creating the blocked out forms of trees for my forest.

2. The picture of the shoreline on the right hand page already created a natural horizon line for my spread.

Here is how I used the shape of the columns to create my trees around:20140416-184810.jpgAfter I drew in my major tree shapes I went to collage on my inspiration image, but could not help myself and copied it on to tracing paper first:

inspiration photo copied on to tracing paper

Then added it to my page:

Enter the Dark forest art journal spread


To match the black and white image for my page I decided to use only gray and black so I used three of my Faber-Castell brush pens and a black and grey ZIG clean color real brush pens:


For the large tree that was going to attach to the branch that the girl in my inspiration pic was walking on. first I drew the outline for the tree then wet the page inside the tree before adding in my “bark” lines for a softer watercolor look:

wet the page then used my Zig real color brush pen


This is the first time I have used this black Zig brush pen and it looked more purple than I expected when watered down but I am still happy with it.

girl out on a limb.jpgI love how the text underneath shows through the tracing paper.


After I was finished with all the trees on the Left hand page. I finished out the right hand page, as I try to use what is existing on the page, I made england and the coast of europe in the map into trees.  I also made the water in the picture into a pond in my forest.

Turned the places on the map into trees

I like the balance of the collage image with the image that was printed on the opposite page. Here is the finished spread:

finished enter the dark forest spread


I enjoyed the simplicity of using only the blacks and grays in this spread.



Vintage Camera Pages

For my next page I was looking through the encyclopedia for an inspiring page and saw this:

IMG_9241 IMG_9242 - Version 2

 Which just looked like it needed to be turned into a strip of film:

pictures made in to film strip

 pictures made in to film strip

Now I obviously have a film camera themed Spread. So I dug into my collection of old National Geographic Magazines (from the 50’s and 60’s) and  collected vintage camera adds. I combined these with some pics from the manuals from my camera collection and filled up the rest of the pages, I may have gotten a bit carried away with my image collecting:

My bed covered with vintage camera imagesMy bed covered with vintage camera images

vintage camera 3

Here is my original test layout. I chose one large image to anchor each page and then used  smaller images around them.

When I took a break from working and came back I found Toast had decided this was the most comfortable place to curl up:

Toast was very cozySilly Art dog.

After I initially glued down my major pieces I decided that It needed something more so I actually peeled up one of my pieces to put something under:

right hand page

After I finished glueing down all my pieces I also drew a film strip on the left hand page. Here is how my finished spread looked like:

vintage camera 4



Playing Paper Dolls…More Fashion Illustrations

After having so much fun with my first fashion illustration page, I was totally hooked on “making  Paper Dolls”. So I went looking for an interesting geometric chart to serve as the background for my next “paper doll”, and I found this great chart:


I loved the colors and the “pixel-y” feel of it, and I thought it would be so cool if the colors showed through the girls dress, etc! So I found a fashion illustration the right shape and size. Another one of the vintage fashion illustrations from: Practical Fashion Sketches By, Charlotte H. Young. I knew with just a normal printed image I was not going to get the translucence I wanted, so I took it downstairs to our copier/printer and copied it onto a piece of tracing paper, which worked much better than I thought it would. This is the first time I used this techniques of copying onto tracing paper, and I instantly fell in love with it. It is now one of my favorite techniques which I use every other page in my art journal. I love the depth and texture that it instantly creates! Here is what it looked like printed on the tracing paper:


Here is the raw printed image, while I was checking placement. The way the color shows through is just what I wanted:image

Here is how it looked after I glued it down:


After I glued her down I went over all of the lines with my black brush pen and added the red “kick pleats” on her skirt. I also added the red to her flower as well as modified her hair slightly. In the original illustration she was wearing a hat which I eliminated.


I am really happy with how the color blocking from the chart comes through the fashion illustration. Detail of her face:


I was working on this on page on one of the days this winter I was stuck in my room in the semidarkness with a stupid light sensitive headache. So as art therapy I decided to do another page alone the same lines, tracing paper on interesting color chart background. Sadly I forgot to take a photo of what the page looked like before I started. 😦 For the left hand page I chose an illustration from: Drawing Smart Fashions By Charlotte H. Young (1948):


I actually chose the same image that was used on the cover:


I positioned her on the page so it looked like she was sitting on the blue bar of the chart. I also used my trusty brush pen and bolded out all the lines, as well as drew in the purple and green details on her dress. I drew in her features with a grey brush pen instead of using the black so it would have a softer look.

Since the left page was more detailed and on the frilly side, for the opposing page I wanted to use a fashion illustration that was larger scale, but also simpler and more graphic. I really did not find what I was looking for in my vintage fashion illustration books, so I started looking through my collection of Vogue Magazines, where I found this ad:


The simple graphic nature of the silhouette definitely had the drama I was looking for, and the scale of the figure on the right fit my page. I put a piece of tracing paper over the page and traced the outline of the figure. I knew I wanted her to be placed farther in on my page than she is in this ad, so she would need her other arm. Once I had my figure traced I just flipped the tracing paper over, lined up her (now backwards) left traced shoulder with her right shoulder in the image and traced her arm again. And voila, she has both arms! Here is the finished girl on the page with the original source image:


When I put just the outline on the page I felt it was a bit to simple, so I gave her a simple face and some hair, along with the black color blocking on the right side of her dress.

Here is the full finished spread:


I like the flow that the different scale of the two figures creates. Because the larger scale figure is simpler but the other has more detail, I think it helps to give them equal “visual weight”. I decided not to put anything else on the page, except for the swirly line down the side of the left page. I felt with the three colors and text in the chart it was already a lot going on and I did not want to make it too busy. I wanted the focus to be on the ladies on the pages and anything more would just fight for attention. Sometimes the key to a successful piece is knowing when to stop. 😉