Every so often I come across a new-to-me technique that I like to incorporate into my artwork. Here are some of the tools, tops and techniques I tried out in the month of May:
1. Printing on acetate.
When I worked in a school, I often found boxes of things labeled "please take" filled with obsolete materials that were once very cutting edge, like acetate sheets - the kind teachers used to layer on projectors instead of writing on the chalkboard. I held onto boxes of these, turning them into planner pockets and dashboards, until I too stopped using them.
A few months ago, I was printing out some images and one of these sheets had slipped into the cardstock pile. The following day, I saw an artist showcase some of her printables on acetate, done at a copy store. Was it serendipity? A sneaky muse determined to have her inspiration put forth into our world? Whatever it was, I was thrilled at the prospect of creating my own clear elements to use on my layouts. After printing out several sheets, I decided to try copying a colouring page onto acetate. The result was a line drawing I could overlay on watercoloured paper as an instant 'coloured' page, or over writing to add a layer of privacy when I shared my art journal.
2. Shammy for stamp cleanup
On my last visit to a local art supply store, I saw the clerk use a squeaky cloth sprayed with water to remove excess ink from a clear stamp. Curious, I asked to try it out and noticed it was the consistency of a shammy - the kind my father would make us kids use to dry the car after we washed it (you know, back in the days when people washed their own cars - or got the neighbourhod kids to do it). I found an inexpensive version at the dollar store and have been using it ever since. Once it gets saturated, I think I'll invest in a better quality one from the automotive department at the store (less fraying). Still a better price point than the branded one at the craft store!
3. I found a paint pen at a craft store and although I really liked the way it could be used to make puffy lines that add some dimension to artwork, I wasn't keen on the colour selection and wanted to use the paint I already have in my toolkit. I found some containers with a relatively fine tip at an off-chain dollar store and added my own colours. It also works very well with masking fluid, which means I can incest in the bulk size container and stop ruining paint brushes when I use it. Best $1.50 I spent that month. Next I want to try mixing my own colours. To be continued...
4. Using tracing paper, rice paper, and tissue paper
I knew all that tissue paper I was hoarding would come in handy one day! Using it as a canvas is the most therapeutic form of art. I highly recommend it as a relaxation technique. That week, I saw no less than 4 others online using tissue paper. Ok, it may have been because we all watched our Patreon master do it (Hey Courtney!) and it instantly became a favourite. There is also something very satisfying about using your own creations in, well, more of your own creations. I had been using a half-empty pad of tracing paper from high school as onion paper to write letters, so I decided to use this too with paint- the crinkle factor is divine (paper lovers will understand this bizarre obsession with crinkly paper). The final paper type I used was japanese calligraphy paper, also called rice paper. I found a few packs of these at a secondhand store a day after i was searching for it online. Serendipity at work again? I like to think so!
5. Labels as mixed media canvas
About a year ago I started buying small blank labels and using alcohol-based markers to create a colour-coding system for my planner. Since then I have printed or stamped images on them and used the disjointed imagery in my art. I saw someone else layering paint over labels and tried it as well, adding different media, layer after layer. Sometimes this works great, other times the layers are too thick and stick together. I have since discovered that acrylic paint works well if layered on very thin, watercolours will interfere with the adhesive on the back of the labels, stencils work great when you dab them with stamping ink, and stamps are always a good idea.
I hope you have been inspired to try some of these techniques. I love experimenting with art, so feel free to message me or tag me in your posts and videos.
YT Video: https://youtu.be/I4oQFgKmdMg
I started sending letters to penpals when I turned 10 years old, and came back to it
decades later when I met like-minded individuals on social media.
A love of penning long letters and adding a little art to envelopes has led to a series
of fortunate encounters and a renewed passion for the lost art of snail mail.
As an avid planner and collector of all things stationery, I soon discovered others who shared the same, rather unique interest on social media. What started off as trades - sending hard-to-find items to people all over the world, and receiving the like in exchange, led to sharing stories and thoughts through little notes sent in the packages. We deepened our friendship offline, and although we no longer sent actual items in the mail, I still wanted to bring a smile to the recipient's face when she received my letter. So, I decided to decorate not just the stationery, but the envelope itself.
It has since turned into my main hobby and has led me to connect with people all around the world who create art and send it off to a new destination. Sharing the process and the final results online is a way to capture the artwork and share it with a wider audience.
I share these happy pieces of mail over on Instagram (along with a myriad of nature, animals, and art journal posts). I hope this mail art inspire you to send a little Happy Mail this week.
on the journey to