*A guest post by Lisa Cyr.
If you are feeling creatively blocked or stagnant
, I highly encourage the daily practice of working in mixed-media sketchbooks and journals. When you allow yourself to play with paint and drawing materials or write freeform in a journal, you open the door for insight to enter, breathing new life into your work and process!
If you are new to mixed media or need to expand your repertoire, I have some fun techniques for you to try. Using collage, texture and mixed-media processes, I adorn my journals, sketchbooks and altered books as a visually stimulating way to jumpstart my creativity. Many of these techniques are demonstrated in my latest mixed-media book called Experimental Painting
if you are interested in learning more.
TEXTURED COVERS & ASSEMBLAGE ACCENTS
Onto the cover of an ordinary sketchbook or journal, apply matte gel medium evenly across the front, back and spine. While it is still wet, deboss some of your favorite textures directly into the surface, making a unique imprint. Once the surface has dried overnight, apply several acrylic washes using various blotting techniques to infuse pattern. To reveal the tactile surface, employ a fan brush and metallic acrylic paint, using a dry brush technique. For my sketchbook shown here, I also added a metal assemblage accent to the surface, giving it an intriguing focal point that has a meaningful message. When I open the sketchbook, I open the door to discovery.
TREATED ENDPAPERS & MIXED-MEDIA BACKGROUNDS
Sketchbook cover and custom bookmarker
It is also fun to create your own custom endpapers and backgrounds using mixed-media techniques. Shown is the art used as endpapers for my book Experimental Painting
along with the inside panel art from one of my sketchbooks. To create the unique patterns, I used plastic grocery bags and plastic wrap for blotting into the wet acrylic paint surface. You can use almost any material as a blotting device. I’ve used almost everything from natural and synthetic cloth to food such as various lettuce leaves! Keep your eyes on the lookout next time you are at the grocery store or taking a walk in nature.
ALTERNATIVE FORMATS & CUSTOM BOOKMARKS
Exploring alternative formats, custom tip-ins, gate folds and die-cut borders is a creative way to challenge yourself in the sketchbook. In the illustrations, I show the use of an alternative format that employs die-cutting, a custom tip-in and two handmade bookmarks. The sketchbook art is produced using a plethora of mixed-media techniques, including texturing, dripping, collage, spraying, dissolving, palette knife, marbling and sponging just to name a few.
A bookmark accent folds in half and is placed in the sketchbook, marking the page through the use of a magnet in the back. Shown also is a bookmark made from handmade paper that is imbued with natural fibers. An embossed metal tip-in is placed on top as an accent. Embossing metal, making handmade paper, exploring collage techniques, embossing and debossing surfaces and many, many other exciting techniques are demonstrated throughout my mixed-media books Experimental Painting
and Art Revolution
DECORATED & EMBELLISHED SLIPCASES & BOXES
Sketchbook cover and custom bookmarker
To store your custom sketchbook or journal, decorate and embellish a slipcase or box. The examples shown feature raised stenciling, resists, gesso texturing and the creation of a unique assemblage accent using clay.
I look forward to seeing your mixed-media inspired journals and sketchbooks!
copyright 2015 Lisa L. Cyr, Cyr Studio LLC www.cyrstudio.com
Check out these Mixed Media Recorded Webinars:
Collage Techniques for the Mixed-Media Artist Download with Bonus Video!
By Lisa L. Cyr
This webinar covers an exciting array of collage techniques. Paper manipulation such as the use of tearing, scoring, punching, die-cutting, folding, wrinkling and creasing as well as treatments such as sponging, dripping, dry brushing, burning, aging, distressing and custom stamping onto various papers, foils and ephemera are explored using a plethora of applications.
For a more densely collaged substrate, techniques such as peeling-back, sanding, scratching and scraping are covered. In addition, the use of multilayered and raised surfaces with custom inlays that employ carving, scoring, embossing and debossing of paper and foils create a multitude of possibilities for artists to explore. The use of embellishments and accents as well as the employment of stitching, weaving and knotting are also covered.
The artist also discusses the intrinsic characteristics of various papers and the aesthetic possibilities as well as the technical issues that go along with them. In collage works, weight, surface, texture, color permanence and opacity each play a part in the selection and use of paper and paper-based ephemera. When it comes to adhering collage and paper elements to a surface, recommendations on the best adhesives to use for specific papers and applications is discussed. Sealing procedures, including when to apply isolation coats between various mixed-media and collage techniques, are also covered.
Transforming the Surface with Mixed-Media Painting Techniques Download with Bonus Video!
By Lisa L. Cyr
This webinar covers a diverse array of creative and painterly approaches using both transparent and opaque applications. Shown on various surfaces, altered, repurposed and custom tools are used in inventive ways to create signature works of art. Automatism and freeform painting techniques are also discussed, creating wonder-filled, imaginative environments that enrich the working surface with color, pattern and texture.
Throughout the webinar, lushly painted passages and rich transitions boast mixed-media techniques such as dissolve treatments using acrylic, gouache and ink, lift-off applications using oil paint and gouache and resist treatments with rock salt and candle wax. Dripping, spattering, ghosting and dry-brushing with paint and water-soluble crayons as well as custom blotting, masking, stamping and monoprinting are each explored in this exciting 90 minute video.
For more decorative applications and faux finishes, marbling using self-leveling clear gel, acrylic matte medium and PVA glue, sponging techniques with natural and manmade sponges, combing and pouring techniques using acrylic gels and paint with varying viscosities, ink embossing, crackle applications as well as other aging and distressing techniques are shown.
Creating custom collage papers with techniques such as veining and creasing along with mixed-media painting and surface treatments demonstrate exciting ways in which to infuse custom collage elements into a multimedia painting. The creation of custom acrylic skin surfaces, clear tape transfers and textured image transfers are also covered.
Techniques that creatively manipulate heavily-applied paint with a painting knife, comb and other non-traditional tools are also discussed. Utilizing alternative and unconventional tools and techniques, this webinar will certainly provide engaging and creative inspiration for artists who want to experiment and explore, igniting the creative juices!
Assemblage Accents: Exploring Faux Finishes & Patinas Download with Bonus Video!
By Lisa L. Cyr
The three-dimensional landscape captivates an audience with its engaging constructs, intriguing enclosures, tactile surfaces and custom add-ons, where the sculptural projection adds not only depth and dimension but also meaning to the work. Throughout the webinar, creative customization of not only repurposed found objects and vintage assemblage accents but also custom sculptural creations is included, incorporating metal, plaster, clay and wood with unique finishes and patinas using techniques such as sponging, glazing, dry brush, distressing and rusting. A diverse array of exciting techniques and materials are explored, including bas-relief techniques as well as creating multilayered accents with custom stencils.
Assemblage can provide a unique three-dimensional addition to any mixed-media painting. The sculptural presence, textural finishes and custom patinas make an add-on or accent a desirable element for the mixed-media milieu. With the addition of faux finishes and decorative techniques, the everyday object can be transformed into a one-of-a-kind accent, communicating a concept or illuminating a subject in a unique way. Let this webinar inspire you to transform your work into the third dimension!
If you liked this article, then check out some of these CMM titles!
Lisa L. Cyr
) is an accomplished multidisciplinary artist and author with a content-driven approach. Her highly imaginative, fantasy-inspired works use layers of metaphor and allegory to stimulate curiosity, provoke thought and encourage further inspection. A poetic, rhythmic synthesis of drawing, painting, collage and assemblage, Cyr’s visually tactile, mixed-media work is composed to collectively create a new reality with a more expressive, symbolic arrangement. An artist member of the Society of Illustrators NYC, Cyr’s work has been featured in numerous magazines, books and online. She has authored seven books on art and design and writes for many of the creative industry’s leading art publications. In addition, Cyr gives workshops across the country and teaches in several of the top MFA graduate programs. She also teaches workshops online.
You may also like these articles: