Ink Wash technique for the Art Journal


I do lots of note taking, or what I call “journal dumping”. It is helpful for me to write at the time, but is not necessarily something I need to keep, or refer back to.  Yet, there is something so appealing about a handwritten page that I always try to find ways to use them rather than trash them.  Private musings can be cut up in tiny pieces and used in a collage. Harmless rambles can become a beautiful background.  Best of all, pieces like this hold so much meaning.  From pain to beauty, or from meaningless to meaningful. It is the redemption of our words through our art.


Today, I am sharing a very simple technique to alter a handwritten page with just a few very simple tools.  For this page, I used a Strathmore gray toned 9 x 12 sketchbook, but any paper that can hold up to water would do.  I wrote on it with a Varsity disposable fountain pen, one of my favorites for writing, and great for this technique because the ink really reacts with water well. A helpful habit to get into is to entirely fill your page with writing.  Your page will be much more useful if you don’t leave margins, or white space where a new paragraph is started.  I sometimes even add a squiggle to finish out a line when there is not enough space left for a word.  I change topics, even days I am writing seamlessly so I end up with one beautiful block of writing.


Once your page is filled, you are ready for fun.  I wrote in a 9 x 12 journal, so a full page size stencil worked perfectly!  Choose a stencil without a super precise pattern, geometrics are not the best suited for this technique. Lay the stencil over the page, and use a wet paint brush through it.  Be carefully to not be too soppy, a little of the watery ink running under the edge is okay, but you don’t want to much!



Carefully lift away the stencil, and you have a beautiful, wordy, watercolor!




Leave as is, or cut out the face to add to a different background!  Didn’t turn out so good? No worries, just cut it up and use it as some delightful collage paper!

Art Journal Class #5 Lettering


Lettering flyer

This week at Studio 13 I taught the 5th class in the monthly art journal series.  This session was all about lettering tricks and tips to use in the art journal.  We talked about stamps and stencils….but mainly focused on transforming our own handwriting into something that we can feel okay with on our pages.

Shyla graduation cake 065

I also shared examples from my own projects:

wpid-20140209_075306.jpg beautiful people 3 angst3 Word Love IMG_0533 Escher quote watermarkspeed of life watermarkLife is beautiful watermarkGroucho11x14 watermarkEsther watermark copy20 important things watermarkBrain Power closerMLK quote

Then we made a simple background on our page primed with gesso, using spray inks and paints with stencils:

LC Shyla graduation cake 076 Shyla graduation cake 060 Shyla graduation cake 059 Shyla graduation cake 058

And those served as a background for our real project:  Lettering on our page!

Shyla graduation cake 081 Shyla graduation cake 078 Shyla graduation cake 077

And of course, what I especially like are the happy faces at the end!

Shyla graduation cake 086 Shyla graduation cake 084 Shyla graduation cake 083

NEXT MONTH:  Making a travel journal, and packing supplies to go!