Art Journal Tutorial: Back to Basics Series: “What’s In a Name”


I just created a Facebook Group so there is a place to share what you create and can develop “creationships” with others on this creative journey. The group is called CreativeKady: All Things Mixed Media. Hope to see you there. 

Techniques Used :

  • applying acrylics with fingers
  • blending wet paint on the page
  • using modeling paste/wall compound through stencil to create texture
  • picking 3-5 analogous colors for page ( analogous colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel)
  • edging the page
  • adding shadow with charcoal pencil
  • splattering
  • adding highlights to textured parts

Materials Needed

I am making every effort to limit the materials needed to items you can buy at your local dollar store, thrift store, Walmart.  Supplies will stay mostly the same for each project. Use what you have. I am limiting myself to them as well.

  • Mod Podge Matte
  • gesso- Walmart brand- does not have to be expensive artist grade
  • assorted sizes paintbrushes
  • re-purposed children’s book- see first post for selection and preparation or purchased journal with heavier paper ( mixed media preferred)
  • dollar store or other brand craft acrylic paint – 3-5 analogous colors plus silver, black, white
  • makeup sponges
  • charcoal pencil
  • baby wipes
  • paper towel
  • meat tray or plastic lid for paint palette
  • stencil- any size, but small works
  • black permanent marker/liner pen/gel pens
  • old credit card/gift card/hotel key card
  • wall compound/ modelling paste/texture paste
  • heat tool or hair dryer

*if you have a higher quality item, you can definitely use them. For instance  Liquitex Basic Acrylic Paint or Liquitex Modeling Paste, or watercolor pencils/crayons.  Often I will discuss options on the accompanying video.



  1. Gesso page using paintbrush or with credit card.  Dry with heat tool/hair dryer .
  2. Select a stencil. It doesn’t have to be as big as your page as you are going to apply modeling paste/wall compound through just parts of it on various parts of the page.
  3.  Apply modeling paste/wall compound with credit card or palette knife. Dry.
  4.  Look at color wheel and pick 3-5 colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

5.  Apply paint with your fingers, blending the wet acrylic paint to get other colors. On mine, where the teal and pink colors blended they made a violet purple color. Work the paint into the modeling paste texture. Dry. Add more layers of paint until you are happy with it.

6.  Print out your name after selecting a font you like. Put a space between letters so you can cut the letters apart easily. Select bold or pick a thicker letter font if you wish to cut the letter out.

7.  Dip make up sponge in a little bit of black acrylic paint. Dab off on palette. Rub around edge of page. Rub on edge of letters to get rid of white. It’s okay if you get some on the front of the letters.

8.   Arrange the letters and then use mod podge matte to glue it down. Put mod podge on back of what you want to glue down and then the top. Make sure the corners are adhered.


9.  Outline the letters with your charcoal pencil. You can use watercolor /inktense pencil for this, but instead of rubbing it you will activate it with water. You can outline near the edge of the page as well and smudge. This frames your page.

10. With a small amount of silver or gold acrylic paint on make up sponge or on finger, very lightly rub over the textured parts. This will give it highlights and shimmer.

11.  Pick one of the colors from the background and put a small amount on the plastic palette. Dip stylus of thin end of paintbrush into paint and put dots on letters to add detail and interest. Be sure to dip item into paint each time to get even size dots.

12.  Put a small amount of black acrylic paint on palette. Spray a small amount of water and mix paint . Dip small paintbrush in paint and tap the handle of the brush with another paintbrush to cause spatters. You may want to try this out on blank paper before doing it on your page, just to get a feel for the technique.

13.  Apply layer of mod podge over all the page to ensure that it all has same finish ( no shiny parts)

NOTE: If at any time you get paint where you don’t want it, because your bottom layer is acrylic you can use a baby wipe and clean it up if you do so before it’s dry. Acrylic paint is permanent when dry. Many of the sprays, watercolors, gelatos etc are not permanent and will re-activate if you wet them. Using acrylics makes things much easier.

I would love to see your pages. Please come back and post them here for me and others to see.

Click this link to watch the accompanying video.


2 thoughts on “Art Journal Tutorial: Back to Basics Series: “What’s In a Name”

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