Hi there! Well, some of you have been asking me questions about the acrylic inks I've been using on my recent art journal pages. I'm not quite up to par with creating video tutorials yet, so instead I've photographed a few of the steps involved.
To begin, the acrylic inks I use are FW from Daler Rowney. I like that they are permanent and lightfast, unlike the watercolour inks. Good to know they aren't going to fade anytime soon. Most of the colours are bright and vibrant and a handful even contain shimmer.
Now I prefer my colours to be a bit more muted and towards the neutral scale. I've tolerated the bright colours whilst I've been playing and learning. However, now I've been using them for a while, I'm understanding more how they work.
So, taking the Cool Grey, I begin with shaking the bottle and squeezing the pipette at the top, to suck up the ink. Unscrewing the cap, I take an old saucer and drain the pipette of all it's ink.
I take another colour, in this case, the Purple Lake and add just a few drops of the ink. When working with acrylic inks, you need to mix your colours first, before applying them to the page. You can not apply washes of colour on top of each other (eg If you paint a wash of yellow, then a wash of blue over the top, it will not give you green).
I take a pipette with clear water (though you don't need a pipette, you can use a brush, or stick your finger over a plastic straw), and add a few drops to the mix.
The next step wasn't easy to photograph as you need to work quickly to achieve a smooth finish. It doesn't take long for acrylics to dry, even with water added to them. Stopping to take photos, can lead to streaks.
However, I start by placing a scrap of paper under the page I'm working on (here I'm working on a small A5 size page). Then I take a sponge applicator, dip into the ink from the saucer and apply in even strokes, working from left to right (I'm left handed) top to bottom. This page has not been treated with a coat of gesso beforehand because, in this case, it doesn't need it. However, these inks will work perfectly fine over gesso if you have.
I work all the way to the right of the page and then run the sponge over the still wet page again, to even the distribution of the ink.
Let the page dry (or speed up the process with a heat gun) and decide if you wish to apply a second coat. Let each wash of colour dry first before applying another on top.
Okay, that's the step by step on creating the backgrounds for my pages in acrylic ink. But I thought I'd include the next few steps as I build up the page. There are no hard and fast rules here. This is just one idea of many.
To begin, I've created a doodled frame using Faber Pitt pens and Derwent Coloursoft Pencils. The joy of acrylic ink is that you can draw and paint over them with all sorts of mediums that you already have in your stash.
The next step is to grab some magazines and start building a collage. Be weird, wacky and as surreal as you please. I love this stage, it's where serendipity takes over. As I flick through magazines, I just let instinct take over and grab images I think I can blend together. I arrange the cutout images beforehand and once happy, glue them down.
Adding text is next for me. I'm not interested in the personal journaling side at the moment. I'm all for it and I wholeheartedly endorse creativity and art as a therapeutic process, for those who desire it. But it's not my motivation for art journaling.
At the moment, I enjoy adding quotes which I find on the internet. Especially those which speak to me about the joys and frustrations of art.
I draw guidelines lightly with a pencil. Here I've used a ruler to create straight lines but you can draw loose curvy lines too. Then I lightly pencil the words in capital letters. I ink over with a fine black art pen (here I've used a Micron pen) and thicken up some of the letters. The words in white, I drew with a Uniball Signo.
And finally, draw over the collaged image, adding whatever lines and doodles you wish. Just go with the flow. Believe me, this is such a relaxing, meditational process. And seriously addictive. I can find myself up to the wee hours of the morning working on these and I'm a typical lark. I am wrecked at nights and need to hit my bed well before midnight.
I hope this, in some small way, encourages you to try out art journaling. You don't have to use acrylic inks, there are all sorts of ink, paints and techniques to try. I've only scratched the mere surface in my own journals. There are lots more ideas I want to try out and play with.
So until next time