Take a Tag Break

I love shipping tags; love to use them, paint on them, stamp on them. and tie on the ribbons. They are a non-stressful way to warm up to do some art or just enjoy the fun. This week’s DLP unPlanner 2016 prompt was to use a circle on an art card, so I made these tags.


And  here’s how:

  1. Lay out an undersurface of plastic, plexiglass or one of those craft sheets (I can’t remember what they are called??)
  2. Spritz various areas with two or three colors of spray inks that will go together well (not complimentary colors or they will make brown).  E.g., pink, yellow, orange; or purple, blue, pink; or green, yellow, blue).
  3. Lay a few tags side by side into the ink and push down and move a little to get the ink to print on to the tags, allowing some of the colors to blend..  Lift up and set aside to dry. If there is a lot of ink, you can use a rag and dab some of the ink off – just don’t rub too much or you will lose the flowing look of the original print.
  4. Once the tags are dry, spritz or dab with a little more ink if desired; just a little here and there. Let dry.
  5. Stamp with a rubber stamp – I like to use black.  I used script stamps turned various ways and going off the tag.
  6. Glue on a shape and repeat it on the tag (I used circles, but you can do leaves, squares, triangles, ovals, etc.)  The circles I used are from Roben-Marie Smith’s In the Garden collection – just gorgeous!
  7. Embellish:  doodle around the circles, in them, next to them, etc. Smudge areas with acrylic paint or oil pastels to get depth of color.
  8. Pour some black gesso on a palette and use a round stencil brush (or your finger)  to make some random black dots or circles to balance out the tag.  When dry embellish them with white or colored dots, lines, etc.
  9. Last, if you want more depth, use the stencil brush and a little acrylic paint to add in some more circles, or to paint lightly through a stencil – use a color that won’t dominate. On these tags, I used yellow, lightly applied.
  10. Pick a ribbon, or twine, or fabric to make the tie.
  11. Don’t forget to take a photo and share it on your blog or Instagram, or whatever.
  12. Hang them up to enjoy or put them in your art journal.

Let me know if you like the process!

Liking my Sketchbook

Am really liking this sketchbook made from Robin-Marie Smith’s free tutorial Urban Journal Remix.  Have glued in some old sketches, made new ones, and tabbed in others from experiments along the way.  Today I tried using acrylic inks following Alisa Golden’s instructions in her book Painted Paper.  I really like the raw quality, the fast pace you have to work, and the big open spaces this allows for.  (More sketches in this book below….)

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Working on a series

Working on a series of background pages (front and back) that will become completed journal pages.  I am currently working on 33 of these sheets (66 when you count both sides).  Love doing these abstract backgrounds!

These are 9×12 Canson All Media papers (taken out of the spiral bound book).  I learned this way of working in a journal from Roben-Marie Smith.


Underpaper Abstracts

Every so often I just have to stop and look at the spillover inks, marks, and paints on the under papers I use when working.  Love to “find” abstracts in them!  Some get so saturated that there are big blobs of darkness, others remain light and airy, and still others have nice compositions in them.  Here are ones on my desk today.

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Working in a series

I learn a lot when I work in a series.  Lately I’ve been working with a Canson All Media 9×12 journal, taking out the pages, and working on several at a time, back and forth, letting them dry, waiting overnight, and returning again and again to layer and tweak and see what happens.  I love how they develop a look of their own, some soft, some bold, some garish and crazy, others prim and subdued.  I also LOVE how they all work together as a whole.  Here are pages after about the 4th layer.  I’ll continue to show them as I keep working on them:  more layers, more stencils, more paint, some journaling, etc.

I think this journal may become a series of inspirational quotes – but some of the pages may just want to stay free and abstract.  We’ll see…

I used SEI Tumble Dye inks, Adirondack Color Wash and Dylusions spray inks; Liquitex Gesso, Golden Extra Heavy Gel/Molding Paste, and numerous stencils.  Let me know if you have any questions about this process.  I learned most of these basics from Roben-Marie Smith’s online class titled Art Journal Conversion.  Her videos for this class are terrific!


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