I only had about 15 minutes to spare for this weeks Journal52 prompt, and my wrist was bothering me mightily, so it needed to be something I could do with my non-dominant hand.
There is a method of drawing called squirkling, which is essentially scribbling. It’s often used for shading, but I knew it could also make a nice textured background. This method is quick (if you are using a big-tipped pen). It’s fun–a lot like returning to finger-painting without the mess and it took me less than 15 minutes to do the page. A lot less time than it took me to write up this process, lol!
Unfortunately, I could not get the glimmer of the interference paint to scan or photograph, so this looks rather flat on screen, while it is almost holographic in real life.
You can maybe see a touch of it in this photo.
Strathmore Aquarius II 140lb watercolor paper
Sharpie Brush Tip Pens-purple, green, red, yellow, blue
Liquitex Interference Violet
Faber-Castell White Big Brush Pen
(see below process for the reasons I chose these particular products and what you might use instead)
1. I colored a thin border along the edges with the blue Sharpie so I wouldn’t have to squirkle right up to the edge.
2. I squirkled with blue Sharpie. In essence, I drew huge scribbly circles over and over covering most of the page, but leaving lots of white space. Really stay loose with this–no need to be neat or worry about good circles–you are scribbling! Really! This is a different drawing because I didn’t have a camera handy for this step for this drawing, but this is how I start out.
3. I repeated this squirkling with purple, making sure that there was still lots of the paper showing through. I’m keeping one area slightly off-center where I scribble lightest. I want to end up with the most white here.
4. I repeated with red, but just in a few places, at random. Still white paper showing through, especially in my whitest area.
5. I repeated with yellow in a few places. This time, instead of placing randomly, I squirkle it underneath the whitest areas to increase the sense of a glow. I still some white paper showing through, but by now it’s scattered about and there are only small spots of white.
6. I traced my hands with pencil. The pencil isn’t super easy to see, but is enough to guide me.
7. I painted around the drawn hands with the interference violet paint.
8. I let dry, and wrote the word stars with a white big brush pen, and shadowed it with the purple sharpie.
Why did I choose the products I did?
The Strathmore Aquarius II–that’s the paper I used to make my journal. It’s part synthetic and part cotton so it doesn’t curl too much when you use watercolor. I knew my Sharpies wouldn’t bleed through to the back with this paper.
What could you use instead? You could use almost any paper for this method–however, if you use Sharpies or other alcohol markers (Copics, Spectrum Noirs) they will probably bleed through and leave color on the back of the page.
Sharpies–they have a large tip so I could squirkle both pages of the spread in a only a few minutes. They are alcohol markers that dry quickly and won’t smear when painted over.
What could you use instead? Any alcohol marker (Copics, Spectrum Noirs, etc) but if you don’t want bleed through and don’t have the right paper, you might prefer to use Faber-Castell Big Brush pens, which are India Ink and won’t bleed through.
You could use other markers, but you should look for something that is water-proof. If your marker is water-based (Distress Markers, Tombows) the ink will probably smear when you paint over it with the acrylic paint.
If you aren’t sure what type of marker you have, google the brand name and look for words like dye-based, water-reactive or water-based, alcohol or solvent based, permanent, or india ink. These are all terms you should become familiar with if you want to work with mixed media or art journaling. Most of your sprays, inkpads, pens, and markers will be one or the other, and knowing what they are will help you know how to use the product.
(Note: I used brush tipped Sharpies because I just got some and wanted to try them out. Regular old Sharpies would work.)
Liquitex Interference Violet Paint–Interference acrylic paints have very little color and lots of mica flakes. This makes them extremely translucent. If you paint them over white or very light colors, almost no color will show, but you see a faint glow of color that changes according to the light. If you paint them over dark colors, the interference color is more apparent and the color shift less, but you still get a translucent glow that still allows you to see detail from layers beneath. I wanted to keep the detail of all the squirkling I did, so I used the Interference Violet to achieve that, making the darker hands stand out, yet still seem part of the sky.
What could you use instead? A very thin coating of most metallic acrylic paints would probably work and give you a similar effect. Metallic paints are more opaque, so if you don’t thin them enough you’ll cover up the bottom layers.
Faber-Castell Big Brush Pen-White–I discussed these above a little bit. They are the same kind of ink that you find in the Faber-Castell Pitt Pens (used a lot in drawing Manga). In this case though, I wanted a translucent white. While most Big Brush pens are opaque (you can’t see through the color), the white is translucent, so you get a lighter version of the color beneath it.
What could you use instead? You could use a thin layer of white acrylic paint or white gesso. Thin layers! Or they’ll be opaque. You could also use the White Picket fence Distress Marker. If you don’t care about translucent, a white gel pen will do.