{21 Secrets} Watercolour Playground

21 Secrets
As promised, I’m back with some more of my creations from last year’s 21 Secrets workshop… today I want to share the pages I made following Tammy Garcia’s Watercolour Playground lessons.
Historically, I’m not the biggest fan of watercolour. It annoys me that you need to use certain paper to get a result. It annoys me that it reactivates if you spill something on it (and I do that a lot). Having said that, I actually really enjoyed this class. It’s quite a slow medium to work with, and as I was testing out a few new techniques, I was going extra, extra, slow… which is very therapeutic, especially if you’re a ‘mile a minute’ kind of person like me.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love rainbows? Blending all of the stripes was sooo calming but do you now what wasn’t calming? Watching the cat knock my pain water all over it, and seeing a big white splodge materialize in the middle. Grrrr. I think you can see a few of the water spots in the top corner…)
One of my usual bug bears with watercolours is that they’re just a bit wishy washy… and I have an expensive little set that I never even touch for that reason…. BUT my Crayola set (which was about £5) are so vibrant and lush that I can’t leave them alone now!
Here I went a teensy bit rogue and put my own mark on the lesson by adding lots of doodles and dots… You can’t really tell from this photo, but the white dimensional paint sucked up some of the watercolour and tinted itself – a very cool effect!
This page was a collection of all the different tips and techniques Tammy shared throughout the workshop and I’m not kidding when I say it took me FOREVER. I think I managed to watch the entire second season of Stella while I was working on it!
So what do you think? Am I a watercolour whiz now? You should definitely hop over to Daisy Yellow, Tammy’s blog. It’s filled with fabulous creative prompts, in fact, my first ever art journal page was created as a response to one of them!
Have a great weekend guys, I’ll be back soon 🙂
D x

{21 Secrets} Doodling Our Way

As you know, this year I’ve been taking part in a number of online art workshops. I haven’t really blogged about them as much as I would have liked to, but there’s no time limit, so I will keep sharing my work even after the classes have finished.
Today I wanted to talk to you about…
21 Secrets

… the course hosted by Dirty Footprints Studio, that runs from March to December.

If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know that I did this course last year too – each cycle is a different 21 artist offering 21 art journaling lessons, and it’s a HUGE bargain. The one negative I have is that you don’t get to keep the lessons. It would be great if you could download the videos or something, in case you want to have another go later on.

The lesson I started out with was Doodling Our Way, by Cathy Bluteau. Essentially it combined a bit of collage and a lot of doodling (two things that I love). This was my first attempt:


It was such a nice, relaxing process. I love being able to sit down with a a pen, a blanket and a cuppa, and just let my hand do all the work while my brain has a good old rest. I currently have another one on the go:


And even more lined up for later…

DSCN1991 DSCN1992 DSCN1993

So tell me, have you been up to anything creative recently? If you’ve been taking part in 21 Secrets, I’d love to see some of your work!

D x

P.S. I’ve just set up a Facebook page for my blog – I’d love it if you would hop over and like it, or share it with your friends!

21 Secrets – Alternative Lives

‘Alternative Lives’ by Zom Osborne is another of the amazing mini-workshops offered as part of 21 Secrets.

The idea behind this class was to imagine an alternate life for yourself, using a number of writing prompts, and create a journal page based on your idea(s). I came up with a ton: a mermaid, a 1920’s flapper dancer, a Victorian psychic, a futuristic robot, a Celtic princess, an evil pirate, a Renaissance painter’s muse… and then I didn’t use a single one. I ended up choosing a vampire theme for two reasons:

–          The next blank page of my ‘altered encyclopedia’ journal was covered by image of the moon cycle.

–          On top of my pile of collage materials were a few pages from an old copy of Dracula. I took this to be a sign.

Anyway, here is my final page:

If I’m completely honest, I don’t like how this page looks. HOWEVER I had so much fun working on it. This is one of those pages that is all about the process; I really enjoyed trying to tell a story using subtle hints and symbols, and I really loved experimenting with a style so different from my own. I will definitely be using Zom’s techniques again, I just hope next time the results look a bit better!

Have a great weekend everyone!

D x

21 Secrets – Taming the Critic (Part 1)

So I’m back with another update from my ’21 Secrets’ adventure… this time I’ve been working on ‘Taming the Critic’ run by the amazinf Diana Trout.

The idea behind this workshop is to let your hands play without any input from your brain…. to just let your creativity run wild without any expectations. I wasn’t sure I’d like working this way, but I think it has been my favourite of all the workshops so far…

I then covered up the whole page (which was a wrench as I loved some of the underlying shapes and colours)- I never use gesso because I don’t really like it (don’t shoot me!). I prefer house paint. I also scratched into the wet paint with a coffee stirrer, which not only added a cool (if weird) texture, but also allowed a bit of colour from the collage pieces to poke through:

A layer of very watery acrylic (not in love with this bit…):

Now for the good stuff! I recently bought myself a little treat in the form of a charcoal sketching set, so I thought I’d test it out here. I didn’t really think about what I was drawing (but I must have had the most recent Quirky Crafts challenge in my head, as I managed to incorporate each element- a magical creature, stars, silver and glitter). I love the effect created by smudging charcoal across a colourful, textured background… this photo really doesn’t do it justice! I then decided to bled the charcoal witch using acrylic paint, which I think made her much more solid-looking:

Finally, I added a couple of finishing touches: silver gel pens in the eyes and stars and a quote written out in glitter glue (which says “Love can sometimes be magic. But magic can sometimes be just an illusion” – Javan):

I got so over excited by the whole process that I ended up making a batch of backgrounds using Diana’s method:


I’ll be back soon with some more arty bits based on ‘Taming the Critic’. Have a great week!

D x

21 Secrets – Intuitive Painted Layers

So this week I’ve been working on another of my ’21 Secrets’ workshops, this one was called Intuitive Painted Layers, run by Dina Wakley. This one was completely not my thing, but I pushed through anyway. I really enjoyed the process of just not thinking too much, and slapping paint across the page. Here a few details of my page in progress:

(Adding scrawly journaling in black sharpie and correction pen)

(Simple monoprints create another layer)

(My reverse stencilling required a bit of help from nail-varnish remover after I accidentally let the paint dry…)

(I used white acrylic to add definition to the images I could see in my painty layers)

And here is the final spread:

Not too sure what I think about these pages. Definitetly not ‘me’, but I sort of like that….

Hope you’ve had an awesome week!

D x

21 Secrets – JournalQuest

The next workshop on my ’21 Secrets’ list is Journal Quest by Tracie Hanson (check out her blog- she does really cool paintings). The general idea is that you create a spontaneous background and then try to find suggestions of images in the shapes you’ve created.

So here is my background:

And here is what I ‘excavated’ from it:

I found this workshop quite challenging for a number of reasons:

-I’m not used to doing double spreads. For some reason it feels quite weird after only ever doing single page pieces.

-I don’t usually do a lot of ‘painty’ work- most of my pieces have some paint but I tend to rely more on  pens, pencils and collage materials. I couldn’t restrain myself completely- I had to crack open my Papermania Metallic Markers for a bit of doodly fun.

-The painting I created was not in my usual style AT ALL. By trying to find an image in the existing shapes I had to push myself out of my comfort zone… I couldn’t just paint what I feel comfortable painting. One big difference can be seen in the eyes… I usually do really detailed over-the-top eyes on my faces but here I’ve kept them simple. Not sure how keen I am?

Although Journal Quest tested my boundaries, I think I’ll be using some of the principles of the class in future artwork. I like that it made me paint something a bit different, as sometimes I worry that my work is a bit ‘samey’. And also, it will give me purpose when attacking those pages I’ve used to clean off my palette:

These will definitely give me something to play around with over the weekend!

D x

21 Secrets – Channel It Girl (Part 3)

Hello everybody and Happy Friday to you!

Today I’d like to share my final ‘Channel It’ journal pages with you. This has been such a fun and freeing little project, it takes a surprising amount of effort to just play around, and not worry about how things turn out. I couldn’t describe any of these pages as a work of art, but who cares? I’ve really enjoyed making them!

Materials used: A variety of felt tips, a pink biro and a black fineliner pen.

I love the page on the right; I think the layering of spontaneously patterned paper, random pink and turquoise doodles and simple black doodles creates a really interesting look. I like being able to see a bit from each of the layer… stops me from feeling like I’ve ‘wasted’ anything.

Materials used: Crayola Supertip felt tip pens and a silver gel pen. These last few pages were all completed at my desk at work, so I couldn’t really use anything wet and messy.

To see my previous ‘Channel It’ pages/the process of making my ‘Channel It’ journal, click on the following links:

21 Secrets – Channel It Girl – Part 1

21 Secrets – Channel It Girl – Part 2

And that concludes my first ’21 Secrets’ workshop, keep your eyes peeled for my next one (hint: it will be ‘JournalQuest’ by Tracie Hanson and it’s gonna be AWESOME)


D x

P.S. I’m linking this post up to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Every Day.

21 Secrets – Channel It Girl (Part 2)

Remember the little journal I made for the ‘Channel It’ class with Kelly Barton? (If no, click here) Well I’ve been enjoying filling up my (slightly eccentric) painted pages this week… what I love about this journal is that it’s lightweight (so I can carry it around everywhere with ease), it’s already ‘raggy’ looking so I can just play around and don’t have to worry about ruining a neat white sketchbook (and it doesn’t suffer too much by being at the bottom of my bag), and it challenges me; I have to try to create something with the colours and shapes already there.

A note on the text- as you’ll probably have noticed, I love adding words to my artwork. In this journal my words have come from various sources (overheard snatches of conversation, memories from dreams, song lyrics, quotes, single words that seem fitting, journalling, personal mantras… but nothing too deep!)

Without further ado, here are the pages I’ve done so far:

A combo of acrylic paint, watercolour pencil and glitter glue.

Text reads: My mascot, my everything.

A selection of pens, pencils and markers.

Text reads: A face warped by fear * doubt * mood * opinion * insecurity * worries * truth

All felt tip (occasionally blurred with water).

Text (on the left) reads: Lost for words and praying for inspiration to appear in the clouds and stars (and on the left) Part of a whole/much better together.

My new Crayola Supertips and a bit of black fineliner.

Text reads: Release your inner cool.

Felt tip, collaged paper, acrylic paint and a Papermania Metallic Marker (in gold)

Text: Various lyrics from 99 Red Balloons by Nena

Crayola Supertips, black biro and a white-out pen. The glitter glue from the following page has leaked through (on the right), but I kind of like how it looks…

Text (on the left) reads: Every rainbow has a touch of pink (and on the right) Wilderness

Felt tip, pencil crayon and glitter glue.

Text reads: Three things cannot be hidden for long: the sun, the moon and the truth (this is a slight variation on a quote from Buddha).

I only have three pages left until my ‘Channel It’ journal is completely full ( I will share these with you early next week), but I have enjoyed the process so much that I will be making another at some point soon…

Hope you’ve all had a great week,

D x

P.S. I’m linking this post up to Julie’s AJED post.

21 Secrets – Channel It Girl (Part 1)

I’ve done very little art journaling this week… I’ve spent most of my spare minutes trying to race through my set books.

I did however, make myself this little journal for the ‘Channel It’ class, another mini-workshop from 21 Secrets, this one is run by Kelly Barton, check out her blog here.


I quite like that each page is different, but it might present a bit of a challenge for me… I’m a fan of starting out with a nice white sheet of paper so this is completely out of my comfort zone!

‘How did I make it?’ I hear you ask…

Whenever I’m using stencils, stamps or spray paint, I put a huge sheet of white paper underneath my piece of work to

a)      Protect my carpet or workspace from errant drops of paint

b)      Test out any stamps that look a bit dubious

c)      Clean the paint off any stamps, stencils, brushes or fingers

And this is what I used for my pages- I simply tore it up using a plastic ruler (to get a semi-straight edge), folded the pieces in half, stabbed a few holes in the spine and stitched through them to hold it all together.

I like the random selection of colours and patterns, it’s so wonderfully haphazard it should yield some interesting experiments.

Hope you’ve all had a great week…

D x

P.S. Linking up to Art Journal Every Day over at Julie’s.

21 Secrets – Frolicaholic (Part 1)

As you know I’m taking part in the ‘21 Secrets’ Workshop hosted by the Dirty Footprints Studio. So this week, I thought I’d share some of my scribblings.

21 Secrets is divided into 21 mini-workshops each run by a different artist, so it’s great variety-wise. The first workshop I’ve taken part in is Frolicaholic (aka Draw Happy 2) by the wonderful Jane Davenport (check out her gorgeous blog  here).

The ideas behind Frolicaholic are:

  • You can choose to be happy.
  • ENJOY the process of drawing.
  • Stop criticizing your own work.
  • Accept your own style.
  • Develop your Frolicaholic symbology (or the images that consistently pop up into your artwork)

This seemed like a great place for me to start as I ALWAYS point out the negative aspects of my own artwork, and I sometimes forget to relish the process of creating art.

The first step was to make our own little journal. I made mine out of pastel paper because of the sherbet-y colours, but that was a mistake. Apparently pastel paper doesn’t hold ink or paint, so everything just seeps through to the other side. That’s why most of my stuff is in pencil.

So here are my first few pages, I hope you enjoy!


Text reads: A Frolicaholic is a person who untangles and expresses emotion through drawing on the positive into their journal, into the words, and into their minds. To put it simply a Frolicaholic is happy.

Text reads:  I choose to be happy. I choose to lead a life filled with love and art and music. If believing is really half the battle then my war is half over. Positivity can only make your world a shinier place. To live, to laugh and to love are all we can ask for. And these will find their way to us through our art, our experiments and our experiences.

Text (around mandala) reads: Just start your art. Make lines, make marks, make patterns, swirls, shapes, doodles and designs. Not everything you create needs to be a masterpiece – as long as you love it, who cares?


Text reads: My Frolicaholic symbols * flowers and leaves * faces with big eyes and wild hair * circles and swirls * hearts, stars and squares * words-quotes and lyrics * mandalas * russian dolls * mythical creatures * totem poles * trees

Text (in petals) reads: luck * chance * fortune * pray

I’ve really enjoyed this class, but I’m really missing my paints and other messy art supplies, so I think I’ll be making myself another Frolicaholic art journal with sturdier paper.

Enjoy your weekend everyone,

D x

P.S. Also linking up to Julie’s AJED post.