Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tutorial: Checkered Art Journal Background

Here is one of my favorite techniques for creating a multi-layered background that can be as colorful or as subdued as you want it to be.  Plan to get a bit messy with this fun process.

 Start by taking text printed pages from vintage books and give them some color.  Using inexpensive acrylic paints, squirt a line at the top of the book page and drag the color down with a plastic gift card or old credit card.  Watery, inexpensive acrylic paints work best for this...save your expensive acrylics for a later step.

Make a  bunch of pages like this with lots of bright colors.  Brighter, dark colors work best for this.

Rip the pages up and make a patchwork page of the ripped pieces.  You can paint the background pages first if you want, but here I left them white. Glue the colored text pieces down with a glue stick or gel medium.

Put a thin, watered down layer of white paint or gesso over the colored patchwork.  The less you use, obviously the more color that will show through.  I vary the amount of white, but on this spread I used a lot of white and really blotted out the colors for a more subtle effect.

Use a cosmetic sponge to create a checkerboard of squares using white or off white paint.  Here I tend to use a higher quality brand of acrylic paint that isn't so watery because it's more opaque.

Fill the entire page with a checkerboard.

Outline some of the squares with metallic acrylic paint in a random pattern using a paintbrush.  I outline about 1/3 of the squares.  My favorite brand of metallic paint is Utrect Iridescent Gold. This adds just a touch of interest to the entire layout.

Now you have a background ready for all different applications and lots of layers if you so desire.  Below are two ways I've used this background.

On this page my background papers were dark red, green and purple.  I put ripped pieces of a paint blotter page on the left and right side filling in the page with writing.

For this page I used all blue and turquoise text pages for the under layer.  I also used a glaze of blue paint on the outside edge and then filled the inside with text and babblings.

What do you think?  If you try this technique I'd love to see what you do!


teri said...

What a fabulous tutorial, Carolyn. I love this method and cannot wait to try it! I have to say your blog is addictive -- the more I read, the more I wanted to read. Thank you!

joena said...

Thanks! I'm going to try this asap; looks fairly simple but very effective.

Andria said...

I'm loving all these specific technique ideas you are providing! I will try this, and let you see how it works out for me. Sounds like fun!

Mixed Media Martyr said...

Both these step-by-steps were great! It is fantastic to see examples as well. Thanks for sharing.

joena said...

I did a spread on Freda Kahlo using the painted dictionary page idea. I didn't cover my "patchwork" with the white paint or make the squares but will try that on another page - I have a supply of painted pages ready.
I'm glad I discovered your blog.

buglady said...

Great technique. Thanks for sharing!
Aloha, Kate

buglady said...

Great technique. Thanks for the tutorial.
Aloha, Kate

Trece said...

Such an incredibly useful tutorial, Carolyn. Thanks for your time, talent and effort.

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