Creative Kickstart: Spark Your Creative Fire

*A guest post by Art Journal Kickstarter artist Jessica Sporn.

Do you ever sit down to create, but find you’re stuck? When I don’t have a clear project or idea in mind, I need to get my hands working and full of paint or ink to get my inspiration going. Working in an altered book, that already has text and imagery in it, is a great place to start, because you don’t have to stare down a blank page! A light coat of gesso, some stamps and stencils, are all you need to start making marks and patterns. You never know what will “appear” to you on the page.

Materials List:
Used Book
White Gesso
scrap papers for collage (old book pages, sheet music, map remnants, etc.)
Assorted Acrylic Paints (including black) and Permanent Inks
Cosmetic sponge or stencil dauber or ink dauber
Assorted brushes including a Liner or other thin Brush
Matte medium

Random Stamping and Stenciling Project

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1. Pick a spread in your altered book, and spread a light coat of gesso on the left and right pages. Wipe off the gesso as it dries, to reveal some of the existing imagery on the page, or any words that pop out to you.

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2. Add your collage element, spreading matte medium under them and above them, and using an old credit card to smooth them out and release any bubbles.

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3. Use your credit card or a dry brush to scrape gesso and paint across the pages. The bumps and texture from your collage will create different variations of color and texture. Maybe, they will even begin to suggest imagery that is “hiding” in your pages!

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4. Without too much thought as to what your page is going to “be,” add paint and stenciling and stamped images.

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5. Loosely use your liner brush to tease out any imagery you see. In this page, I began to see an elephant. I lightly sketched it, and then used my paint to begin to delineate the elephant’s head.

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6. Add more shading and detail by diluting your paint with matte medium, and using this sheer glaze to add dimension.

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7. Go back in with your liner brush if desired, add more stenciling, stamping, and maybe some journaling until you feel done!

The best way to create is to just start, because sometimes perspiration leads to inspiration!

Art Journal Kickstarter
Jessica Sporn is a mixed media artist and illustrator, known for her strong use of color, texture, inspirational messages, and whimsical, heartfelt style. Her artwork always contains a sprinkle of her soul. Jessica is a designer for Stencil Girl Products ( and RubberMoon Stamps (, and her illustration work can be found on greeting cards for Recycled Paper Greetings, Hallmark, Marian Heath, Leanin’ Tree and other greeting card companies, as well as Judaica products for Aviv Judaica. You can find Jessica at her blog,, on Facebook at, and through her licensing agent, Creative Connection, Inc.

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