How to Effectively Use Black in Art Journaling: Techniques

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This technique is a very simple, yet very effective and striking. Above you see the backs of the start of a pocket letter.

It started out as a piece of 11X14  piece of mixed media paper from Canson. I applied a layer of gesso to it. After drying I got out my Inktense Blocks and colored randomly with a multitude of colors. I sprayed with water and activated the ink from the Inktense Blocks with my fingers. I blended colors , adding more color until I got a background I liked.  I dipped a paper towel in any areas that got too wet or where water was pooling.


When dry I used the stencil Flower Medley  and taped it down in the corners so it wouldn’t move. I  applied black craft paint with a make up sponge. I start at  the top and work my way down, being careful not to have too much paint on the sponge so it wouldn’t leak under the stencil. I find applying two lighter layers of paint allows for more control. Lift off the stencil and dry. I have a tub of water and dishsoap handy to put stencils in so clean up is easier.  I cut the piece into 3 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches -the size of an ATC. I added designs and quotes to the other side specific to the person who received the pocket letter.

Here is the same technique used on an art journal page.


This art journal page was made using the same stencil technique. The only difference here is I spread acrylic paint in fall leaf colors onto the gessoed surface before I applied black paint through a leaf stencil from Plaid. After applying the black paint through the stencil I splattered gold acrylic paint and adhered a quote with gel medium.

I printed off the quote on paper that is thicker than regular copy paper, but copy paper will work. I colored the paper with Distress Ink Walnut Stain. I used liner brush to make the letters blacker and outlined the letters with my cheap dollar store gold gel pen.

Here is an ATC made using the same technique. I used Inktense Blocks here and Crafter’s Workshop Stencil ” Flower Frenzy”  and stamped it with a wooden script stamp. I outlined the flowers using Uniball Signo white gel pen.

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As you can see the variations are endless. Give it a try. Use black through a stencil or mask. Be sure to come back and post the results.


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