Gelli Arts Gel Plate Basics! (video)

Ah, finally! Even if you don't see them, I'm working on videos every single week, and am now working with others to make them awesome & amazing videos for their tutorials, too! So here's the gel plate tutorial I filmed a couple weeks ago! 

I've learned so much and converted more than a handful of people with this fun, easy to use product! I'll be making another with 'advanced' techniques pretty soon, for those of you with your own plates who want to know more! I just....I have so much fun with my gel plates! It's so calming and medatative and full of all sorts of layers and possibilities! 

If you want to see more of what I've created so far, check out my Gel Plate art gallery!

My lovely amazing friend Roben-Marie has ALSO posted her take on gel plates -- we scheduled our posts to go up together to give you all a Weekend of Gelli Arts

Thanks to Gelli Arts for giving us the opertunity to play with this amazing product! 


Make More Time for Your Art Journal w/ a Couch Box!


I've been asked by a few to show y'all what I have in my Couch Box - a box of art supplies that I take with me to journal anywhere and still make amazing art (it's also useful for when you go to a friend's for an art afternoon!). 
But I really do talk about how you can make more time for your art, and a few ideas of what you can do to do something EVERY DAY! It's not as hard as you think! 
Please share your favorite supplies, or your own box, in the comments down below! 


Finding Magic, New Supply Love, & More!

I have so much magic I want to write about, but it shall have to wait. 

As many of you know, I suffered a concussion early Friday morning when the light fixture in the ceiling of my Closet Studio decided to attack my head. I’m fine; I went to the ER on Monday, finally (as having no insurance + CT scan = scary!), and was told I’m suffering a post-concussion syndrome, which mimics the symptoms of the original injury, except for a longer, undetermined period of time. So posts are going to be a little far apart, as being on the computer or sitting in the studio is a bit difficult at the moment. 

(I am still launching the Ning on Monday, though!)


A mosaic of my students, their work, and my samples...

Class on Saturday was amazing. In every way. My students were magnificent and so patient with me as I was a bit scattered! We had a great, fun time, and they kept saying they were having a wonderful time! Oh, it warmed my heart. Being able to go around and see the magic they were creating and help them fix those bits they didn’t like while pointing out the amazing things they’d created on their own? 

I found my magic. 

I know what I’m supposed to do. I have the confidence to go for it. There are plans in the works, but for now, I shall bask in the glow of Saturday’s class. 

And as I was browsing the shop after class, I spied the Prismacolor colored pencils and was thinking, “So many people like them; I should give them a try, hmmm?” So I walked up to the woman plucking pencils from the shelves and asked, “Do you like these?” 

She turned and said, “Oh, I know you, I read your blog!” 

It turns out, Kim had emailed me before my newfound better reply practices and we got to chatting. Then, another woman came down the aisle, Lynn, who I’d met at my first demo and had traveled far to come see me. Add an amazing class plus two wonderfully creative ladies who recognized me from my writings and videos here and reached out and bam

I really found my magic.

That, and I’m in love with my Prismacolor colored pencils! And! A month ago, a friend of mine found a set of Art Stix at a garage sale for $3 and asked me if I’d use them. Not knowing what they were but not being one to turn down a lucky find, I said I would, and she sent ‘em to me. Little did I know, the Art Stix are the same thing as the pretty colored pencils, except without the wood! 

Talk about a lucky find! It’s a 48 color set! 

Add to all of that Jane Davenport’s posts for Life Book this week about some fun techniques with these beauties and I am one happy, happy girl! 

I am so excited for all the amazing things I have in mind for the launch of the Ning, and for the future of the blog, and for my art and journaling. I wish you could all come hang out with me, because I’d be talking a mile a minute about everything I’m discovering!

By the way, I started using a pad of Strathmore Mixed-Media 300 series paper for my journal, and I love it! I already was in love with the 400 series — I have a pad in every size, even the 18”x24” pad, and use it in all my demos — and was hoping the 300 series would make a good journal. It does! I’ll be doing a video review of this paper versus Canson’s Mixed-Media paper very soon! 

Also, tomorrow is the last day you can sign up for Journaling Deep in its current incarnation. It’ll be changing as soon as the Ning launches, as I’m upping my game!

If you have a few minutes, why don't you fill out my questionnaire so I can get to know you better?

Creating in your art journal on those kind of days...

Yesterday, Cassandra wrote:

The last few days, I've been hit with a serious wave of weakness and fatigue to the point where getting dressed is a major accomplishment-- but I'm not sleepy. Getting chores done is nigh impossible, and I'd rather not turn my brain to complete mush via computer and tv. I know you've had "fibro days" that are at least somewhat similar, and your art journaling arose from those. I was wondering if you would be willing to put together a post on getting through sick days with the help of art-- what sort of things work best from the couch and such.

While I’ve written about my armchair art box before, I wanted to write about something a bit less involved than that overfull shoebox. I’ve been working out of a smaller box myself, as long days make for tired nights. Simple is best. So here’s a little overview of my current armchair box and a few pages I’ve done in the past few days. 


Waterbrushes are a sick girl’s best friend. They allow you to put down color without needing a cup of water next to you or messy brushes. I totally recommend grabbing one of the nicer ones you can get in the embossing/stamping/Tim Holtz section of your local hobby shop, as you really do get what you pay for. 

Pair one with pan watercolors, tube watercolors with a little palette, or watercolor pencils for instant color with little mess. I have dogs that like to jump after shiny things, so a cup of water isn’t the best idea. Also, watercolors are forgiving — let some dry on your palette and re-activate them later on! Curl up and doodle or simply spread around color! 

Smaller scraps you’ve collected in the studio, rub-ons, and photographs are easy page kits for when you just want to tape bits down and do a bit of collage. 

Markers are a nice alternative to watercolors if you want to do some doodling but don’t want to get out the water or any paint. I have a few Pitt brush markers, Marvy fabric markers, and Sharpie pens to color with, but have also pulled out Copics or colored pencils. 

Gel pens & multiliners are great for doodles to be colored later. White pens are great for adding embellishment to previously-finished pages. 

A small pair of scissors and double-sided tape are a must for any sick day art!



Here are some tips for working in your journal when you’re sick but need something to do. 



1. Practice lettering. This bit of journaling took me 45 minutes and kept my attention. Write the words with a marker first, then outline them. The first loosens you up, the second takes a bit of easy concentration. You can easily fill a page with this. Pair it with a photo, and you’ve got a nice looking page that allows expression without taking too much energy. 


2. Doodle. I recently started doodling with my waterbrush & watercolors, and have had a ton of fun with very little in the way of supplies. Use markers, or even a pencil, to doodle across a journal page. There is so much for you to discover by way of doodling, you shouldn’t discount it (I recently bough Stephanie Corfee’s book Creative Doodling and Beyond, which is full of amazing doodling prompts that can be done right in the book).

An alternative to this is zentangles. Oh, zentangles, how I love you so…


3. Give a page a colorful wash. You can use watercolors or colored pencils to spread color around doodled elements or words you’ve written across your page to pull everything together. Spread several colors around and then doodle on top of them, make fun frames for photos, or tint some of your found papers to make bright elements to collage onto the page.  

4. Be okay with less. When it comes down to it, a journal page created while sick isn’t going to measure up to one you work on in your studio with all your supplies. And that’s okay. Not every page needs to be full of color and collage and cool techniques. Allow yourself to have fun with the simple processes that come with doing less; get lost outlining a favorite quote, spend hours blending colored pencil colors, allow yourself time to refine your doodles. 


You may feel too tired or sick to do any art, or feel that whatever you make while curled up under a blanket isn’t good; it is. You’re working from a different place, one that is less flashy and bold, but no less important to investigate. All the little things can give way to discoveries that may, down the road, change and shift the art you create when you’re feeling better. Give yourself a break, get a mug of tea, and show your journal some love. 

I'm off to bed, as I'm teaching my first class here in Arizona tomorrow afternoon and want to make sure I'm well-rested for my students. There's still time to join us (just email me if you do call and sign up so I can make sure to bring enough supplies!). 

{on-the-go journal kit}

In the comments for last week's impromptu vlog, sweetpyder asked:

I would love to know what's in your traveling kit for your purse.



Here's what I carry in my purse/on-the-go journal kit. Here's a list (that may be out of order of the video, but includes everything): 
Hope this helps!



{finding my doodler spirit}


I’ve never considered myself a good doodler. Honest. I just don’t feel that I have a large enough internal doodling encyclopedia to create anything varied enough to not be boring

A couple months ago, one of the women at the mixed-media group I attend told me about this new pen she’d purchased off someone’s recommendation (and I’m sorry; I don’t remember the teacher’s name!) and how she loved it. “It wasn’t expensive at all!” 

When I started college, I got my first fountain pen. Nothing fancy or expensive, just a lime-green one I would write with. It feels cool to write with a fountain pen — if you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out! There is just something almost magical about writing with a fountain pen, the way the ink swishes from the nib, a smooth, continuous stream that isn’t dry like a ballpoint or even slick like a gel pen. But smooth. Flowing. It almost lends itself to transforming even your grocery list into a piece of art. 

But I lost that pen. And forgot the magic. It was replaced a few years later, and I carried it in my purse when I moved out to Los Angeles for a bit. It was snuggled in the little purse next to my very first visual journal, where paintings about airplanes and oceans were sandwiched between notes and plot ideas for scripts. I remember asking a writer for an autograph and having to say, “It’s a fountain pen!” when he tried to sign the program (Oh, Eric Kripke, I’m sorry for throwing that curve ball!). 

That, too, was lost. 

I never thought of applying a fountain pen to art until that meeting, in July, when I was reminded of the magic. You can draw with them? Many artists actually do? The only talk of ink with drawing I’d seen was from my own experiments writing and doodling on journal pages with a dip pen, and a few weeks over the summer when several people were discussing Noodler’s Ink. 

Why not? my inner voice asked. You can save up and get one and see what happens. 

I haven’t bought art supplies for myself in three weeks, darlings. Three glorious, fountain pen filled weeks. And I don’t regret it at all. 

The doodles on these journal pages were done as I sat idly in the morning, curled on myself, letting my mind wander. Each gesture, when I draw or write with my Lamy, is exaggerated. Swirls and swishes and hash-tag lines. Want a thicker line? Press down. Thinner? Less pressure. You don’t need much for the black ink to come out, and it works over anything. Magic. 

If you’ve read my post from today’s newsletter, you know how odd it is, to write that you don’t need a certain supply to make certain art. But I wanted to write this post, in conjunction, to show that when you have saved up, when you’ve waited and researched and gone to finally get that supply, cherish it. I wasn’t holding off on doodling or drawing because I didn’t have the fountain pen, but I sure am awash in joy from holding it, even if I’m writing my day’s to-do list. 

The pen I purchased is a Lamy Safari fountain pen, which costs $35. I also use a converter so I can draw & write with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black Ink.

{journal girl presents....inktense pencil + weekly vlog}

The bloody video took so long to get finished, but I managed to do it! I started with a different camera, then had compatibility issues, then had to reformat and fiddle with my desktop for three days. And when all was done (after filming near sundown because I could not wait another day to film), Final Cut Pro crashed three times and I had to use iMovie '09. Which I don't know how to use very well. 

But in the end, I learned the program (and it was easy to edit in!), spent four hours on my Saturday editing, and here it is. 

So, what should I explore for next week? 

(Because of this delay, I'm going back to posting a video every Friday. I'm having too much fun!)

{experimenting with new materials!}

A BUNCH of new stuff I'm experimenting with!

1. Puffy Paint. I was wandering through Wal-Mart the other day, and saw the little bottles of puffy paint. I thought, "Why not play with these?" as they're only $1 each. Grabbed a black and white and have been doodling around things with 'em since. Near everything I've touched since then has gotten the puffy paint treatment.

2. Gems and Rhinestones. I finished reading the Crafty Chica's first book, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter last week, and had a sudden hankering to grab some gems and glue 'em down. What fun they are!

3. GLITTER. See above. Also, there's this invention called a Glue Pen; holy CRAP do I love this thing! I have the Martha Stewart ballpoint one, and daaaamnn. I'm gathering coupons to get the other tips at Michael's later this week!

4. Fiber Paste. I think I've posted about this before, but I decided to try it out on paper. It's SO COOL. Feels like (and acts like) rough watercolor paper.

What new things have you tried? Once you throw the "rules" out the window, there really are amazing new discoveries out there for your favorite craft products.