Mixed-Media Backgrounds for Illustrations in Procreate | Alma De la Melena Cox | Skillshare

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Mixed-Media Backgrounds for Illustrations in Procreate

teacher avatar Alma De la Melena Cox, Mixed-Media & Digital Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (1h 15m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Creating Backgrounds With Paint

    • 3. PMixed-media, Photo & Illustration

    • 4. Creating Backgrounds With Paint & Fabric

    • 5. PMixed-media, Filters & Illustration

    • 6. Creating Backgrounds With Paint, Fabric & Paper

    • 7. ProMixed-media, Photo & Illustration

    • 8. Bonus Video - Mixed-media With Photos

    • 9. Inspiration Video

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About This Class

See Class Project for optional supplies to create your own mixed-media backgrounds

Bring your digital illustrations to life with mixed-media in Procreate! In this class you’ll learn how to:

  • Create affordable mixed-media backgrounds to apply to your digital projects
  • Combine mixed-media art with a landscape photo and an illustration (Project 1)
  • Apply filters (blend modes) to mixed-media art and an illustration (Project 2)
  • Create a travel-inspired illustration by layering mixed-media art and a photo (Project 3)
  • Use two photos with a mixed-media background (Bonus video)
  • See mixed-media art in new ways for your digital creations (Inspiration video)

IMPORTANT: If you don't want to or are unable to create your own mixed-media backgrounds, I am also making the original images of the backgrounds and photos I made and used for the Projects and Bonus videos available to you. To access, click here and use password: MixedMediaBackgrounds  I am trusting that you will only download if you take my class :). Thank you.

My intention with this class is to help you connect with your creativity even more. The processes I share develop trust in your own preferences and creativity. I believe joy is one of our spirit's highest aspirations and making art is truly one of life's greatest gifts. Enjoy!

Here are the main Projects (left to right): Project 1, Project 2, Project 3, Bonus


Here are examples of the backgrounds (Creating Backgrounds videos):


Meet Your Teacher

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Alma De la Melena Cox

Mixed-Media & Digital Artist



Hi! I'm Alma, I've been a mixed-media artist for over 20 years. I'm the author of Collage Fusion and Calling Dolores—a novel about creativity. I love teaching at art retreats worldwide, and sharing all my techniques in my art studio and online. I think Skillshare is super cool ❥.

For more inspiration and tips, visit my YouTube channel.

 My love of mixed-media has spread to digital art. Check out my Procreate classes here and here. I share FREE mixed-media backgrounds and photos for you to use in your artwork. 

I'm passionate about creativity—mixed-media art especially, because it's a great way to express yourself intuitively and to make your artwork and digital illustrations uniquely yours. Have questions... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi everyone. Mixed media art is my passion. And playing in the digital space has only increased my joy by leaps and bounds. And I hope that the videos ahead will inspire you as well. I'm going to show you how to create simple, affordable, mixed media backgrounds that will make your illustrations sing. I'll use paint than fabric and paper and we'll blend visa photos to project one is perfect for the beginner, mixed media artist and illustrator. Project two is all about using blend modes are filters in the layers panel. And Project Three steps it up a notch with a travel inspired artwork. And the bonus video, drawing the figure is easy with my method and painterly would we use layers? And finally, the inspiration video gives you more ideas how to use your mixed media backgrounds in fun ways. You'll also have access to the photos that I use in the project videos. I'm excited to have you join me on this art adventure had been creating everyone. 2. Creating Backgrounds With Paint: Hi guys. So for our first background are mixed media background. We're just going to play with Kraft paints and computer paper and the craft paint. It doesn't really matter what brand it could be, the very inexpensive kind. The key here is I like to pick the first three that appealed to me and I have a lot of paint in my studio to choose from. But when you go to the craft store and pick, just pick the first three. And just sort of be mindful that you have a dark, a medium and a light value. And then here you're going to notice that it doesn't matter if we have broken lines or smearing lines. It doesn't matter if I do a squiggle in a straight line or perfect shapes, I like to keep it really random. And as I've said before, my push chart, my favorite way to approach art is to not really have a plan and allow sort of my feelings, my preferences for the color to guide me. And so right now I just sort of feel like scribbling some paint and squishing around with this other paper on top. And it's really fun to create Mano prints like this. And you, you know, even, I mean, I feel like these artwork, their artworks in and of themselves, but I'd like to see things inside of these, inside of these impressions. For now, we're just using one paper on top of another. And now you're gonna see me apply the white. And I really love scribbling white paint on top of my artwork. I do this a lot in my larger mixed media canvases. Sometimes I will not squish it. I kinda feel like it has a little bit of a graffiti look, and I really hope that. But sometimes I'll just leave the squished squirted paints, excuse me, to dry and it takes a long time for it to harden because if I put it on so thick, but I just love the effect. So if you have patients, That's another way to go, but for the purposes of this project and squishing around. So now I'm using just a old bamboo skewer for my kitchen to write some words. And for me they don't have to be legible. You can even write just letter forms. They don't have to actually say anything. Or they can be words that are meaningful for you. So I'm going to be speeding up now through the rest of this particular process that we can go ahead and I can show you how I will edit my favorite one for the first project. In my photo editor. For project one, working with this particular image, I'm going to go ahead and duplicate it. And obviously I'm in my photo editor now. And the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to just see what kinds of filters might appeal. So I'm just scrolling through and I've landed on David warm. And now the next step is to go through the menu of the photo editor. And I really encourage you to tune in with your feelings right now. I am really looking for very saturated color. And maybe it's just, I'm excited about starting these videos for you. Don't have a plan. I'm just really tuning in and delighting in that fluorescent orange that is really popping. I'm also making sure that my words I can, I don't want to lose the contrast in the words I guess is what I'm saying. So once I land on the best photo for me at this moment, I'm going to go ahead and start the project and I'll see you in the next video. 3. PMixed-media, Photo & Illustration: Welcome to Project 1. We're going to be blending the painting, a photo, and an illustration. So the first thing we're gonna do is I'm selecting a 3000 by 3000 square. This is my preferred format. The size and the square renders and approximate 10 inch by 10 inch artwork. Now I'm adding a photo and I'm going to select that photo that I just edited with the words. And I'd like to take a moment just to sort of listen to what direction it's wanting to go. The thing that appeals to me most about this particular artwork is cloud shape. Here I'm deciding, you know, I think I like it as this puffy hair possibility for a little character. So the next thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to select the free hand tool. And I'm just going to lightly go around. And when I say lightly, I mean, I'm not going to be very specific. I don't have the actual hair shape in mind completely yet. I'm just going around and I'm going to harvest from this artwork the general shape. So once I've made my selection, I drag three fingers and I'm going to hit Cut and Paste. And then that allows me then to have my selection on its own layer. And here you can kinda see that, you know, it's beginning to take shape now I'm going to fine tune it a little bit more. So I'm deleting the part that I cut away, the grad, the selection tool again and make sure I'm on freehand at the bottom. And I'm imagining her little face is sticking out somewhere underneath at the bottom here. So I'm just sort of imagining what, you know, what she's looking like right now. And she's she's cute. She's not a sophisticated, highly detailed character. She's going to be simple and her main focal point will be her hair. So now I'm adding a layer and I've pressed the orange from her hair to change the color. And I'm looking for a gray tone. Skin has a lot of gray in it, so I'm trying to keep it cohesive. I may change your skin color later, but for now we're just gonna go with this particular color from the brush menu. I actually made a little mistake here, so I'm going to redo her face using the inking pen, the studio pen under inking in the menu. And now I'm just dragging her skin color. So the first face shape I did was actually with a sketching pencil. So I just want to what you didn't know that. I just don't want you to miss anything here. And now I'm just moving her face around to see and positioning it. And I like where I like having just a little imbalance. So there's a little more hair on the right-hand side. And that's fine. I like it to be a little quirky that way. The next thing is I'm going to create a new palette by hitting the plus sign. And then I'm just going to grab the different colors in her hair to create a new pallet. And this way, I keep her clothing or whatever I decide, you know, the details. I keep the whole piece cohesive with her hair. So I think I've got enough selected there to get started. I think I need one more darker color, but I will add that now. There we go. So for her body, I'm going to use the sketching pencil, the 6 B pencil just to draft some ideas. And here you'll see that I go from having her harms, you know, actually touching your hair to changing that. And then I will incur to me it just doesn't feel right to have her arms. She has kind of a sassy personality and she's very competent and herself with her hair. So that's the direction I'm going. So to incur I'm back in to the studio pen under inking and I like to use that selection tool, that freehand tool to lop off parts that I don't need. I feel like it's cleaner than the eraser. Remember for efficiency and to make sure, you know, limbs and things like that look equal, you can duplicate your layer and just flip your shaped like her arm here, I'm just flipping it with the move tool horizontally so that perhaps look the same. I'm already thinking ahead as to what the background is going to be. And I think for the purposes of showing you that, it's really fun to incorporate photos and mix things up a little bit. I'm gonna go grab a photo for the background. So I'm jumping ahead here. I've selected this photo with the clouds and I'm making all the photos I used for these classes available to you. So please feel free to use them in your projects. And I'm like, I want to use the clouds because it just reinforces this idea of her cloud-like hair. So I've edited a little bit and now I'm popping it into my illustration. So here you can see that the layers are off, so I'm just going to drag it all the way to the bottom so that she is on top of the photo. Because I don't have a plan. I spend a lot of time just looking at it. And if I don't see or feel a direction for the next step, I will just move on. So right now I'm moving on and I'm giving her her legs. And you can also see that I added little cuffs to our sleeves and Just to give her a little bit of personality. So obviously I don't have enough contrast between my background and my character, but that's fine. I know that I'm going to resolve that soon. Here. I've selected a blue from her hair and I've created a layer right on top of that photo. And this is something I do a lot to push back the background and I'm going to make her smaller so that you can really see what I'm doing here. And I'm just going through the filters. So I'm on that blue layer. And the blue and the filter is interacting with the photo that's underneath. And this, I liked that light blue that we just saw. And I now just showing you just the different options. And feel free to use a color that's not necessarily in your mixed media art work and just see him play and see what interaction you can create. I'm landing here on screen. I really loved that. Lighter blue. And now I'm adding a new layer and I'm creating her eyes. And I really like the idea of using really big eyes for her face. And I'm using that duplicate layer, do you know to get the eyes the same? And I feel like adding just a little bit of that white that I shine. And I just adds that special touch. And feel free to use the artwork that I'm sharing here with you as inspiration. So, you know, if you want to see what your character would look like with the kinds of eyes that I like to make, you know, go for it. And this is how we learn from one another, is to just use each other as inspiration. For this next step, I've grabbed the selection tool and I'm on the layer of her hair and I'm on freehand. And this time I'm going to harvest apiece by hitting Duplicate. I don't want to use cut and paste because I don't want to cut a chunk out of her hair. I just want to duplicate that selection that I've just made. So now that I have it, I'm using my move tool and I'm going to move it around and figure out and fill out the parts around her face with this mixed media art hair. So you can see here that piece that I just duplicated, I'm actually moving so that it's below or excuse me, beneath her face layer. And I'm just slowing down enough so that you can really see this happening. The next step is to add a layer. And I'm gonna go get my sketching, my six B pencil and a not on the actual mixed media art hair layer. I'm just on just a brand new layer. And I'm selecting the colors as I go to blend in the colors so that it looks intentional. So you can see here that layer just has that sketching. And now I'm. Bringing that sketch up in my layers panel so that it's over the little piece that I harvested as well. And here you can see that that really smooth smooths it pretty well. And you can't really tell that it was a piece that we added. So I'm also cleaning up little bits again with that selection tool like I showed you before. So I'm going to speed up and continue this process of harvesting parts from the main hair and adding it around her face and cleaning up a little bit. So this may be redundant and maybe something that you all practice already. But one thing that I do when I'm just in this mode of covering up and filling in is listening to the character and figuring out what's her story. So more on this in a moment. Let me interrupt by adding a layer. And I want to select this drippy brush. And it just occurred to me, you know, again, as I was asking her, she's she's got that. I don't know that SAS and I just loved the idea that, you know, she's an artist herself and she wants some drippy paints. And I think what's happening right here with my discomfort with this color is that it's reminding me of blood and so I think I'm going to have to change that color. So another way to add contrast to this piece is I'm using the sketching pencil to add some flowers to her dress, as you can see. And I kinda like that. Red is coming through. So this is just, it's a minor thing, but it just kind of echoes that texture that I have going in our hair. So even though she has this grass behind her, she doesn't look rounded to me, so I'm actually filling in that space so that it's inked, so that it looks similar to how she is inked. And back to this idea of having the character speaking to me. Honestly, this is what she's saying. She is home in herself with her crazy hair and the words in her hair, and I know that I need is the symbol of the house to make that a truth of this small artwork. But I'm also aware that she needs to be more grounded. And sometimes I think that if we just take a little bit of time, those small decisions that we make bring a lot of truth to the our work. And they can turn a very simple design into something that resonates for more people when we bring our own truth to it. So here she is. She's grounded. I'm happy. She's cuttable a trail to stand on. She's not far from home. She's feeling confident and herself. And yeah, I'm feeling pretty good myself about where she's at. So the next thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to add some text. And again, it doesn't have to be that elaborate. But I want to echo the joy, beauty and love that is in her hair and her head and her mind. And so that's why I added that little bit of text. And then finally, as a final step, go into the gallery, duplicating the whole artwork and collapsing all the layers so that I have just the background. And then she is on her own layer. And now I'm just playing with the hues just to see if there was anything different to do. But there isn't. I'm just dropping the saturation of the background just a bit so that she pops. So look forward to seeing what you create. I hope you'll post in the Skillshare forum. Thanks everyone. 4. Creating Backgrounds With Paint & Fabric: Hi guys, Welcome back. So for this mixed media art project, I'm going to actually use two values of fabric. And in the same way we picked a dark medium and light value of paint in project 1. Here we just have one dark value, which is the brown paint, and one light value, which is that aqua, light blue. And one of the things I love about these types of fabrics, these are 100% cotton. They are boutiques. Boutiques are wonderful because they have so many gradations of color. There's a lot of transparency. It's got kind of a watery effect to it. And here too, I have two values, right? The dark brown fabric as opposed to that yellowy beige fabric. And the light blue, I just feel is a brighter version of that awkward light blue in the fabric. So you can use fabric this way to inspire your paint choices as well. We're just going to be using computer paper, but this time, let's just cut our computer paper down to a square shape. It doesn't have to be perfect. Obviously, mine is uneven in here. You just want to cut the parts that you like about your, your fabric and you spot a few. Obviously, they need to fit on your paper. So in this case, mine will be smaller. If you use a much bigger piece of paper, you can use a lot more fabric. And we're going to be using this product mod podge. And I like the mat version and just an inexpensive foam brush is what we need to spread it. And because I'm at the, almost the bottom of my container, I have to pour it into this plastic container. But the process is this. You want to be really generous with the mod podge beneath and on top of your fabric. And then what you're going to do is you're going to use all that liquid to squish out air bubbles. So here, it's okay that the fabric is very saturated, that's what you want. It actually makes it much easier to spread out the air bubbles. So I'm going to just move slowly here in real time. So you see the process for this first square and then I will speed up the process as I apply the other pieces and just be mindful that the mod podge does dry really quickly. So I am aware that my paper, as time goes on, could stick to the paper on the table. It's not totally dry, but I'm fairly impatient. It's dry enough to go ahead and spread some paint around. And here you can see that I'm just using computer paper to lift some paint up and it creates that cool transparency to the paper. I've also added some white as you can see. And I'm using my finger. And again, it's just really what you feel. And here I'm using the handle just to create some scratch marks. And this will take a little while to dry. But I'm again, I'm in patients, so I'm gonna go ahead and I'm going to take a photo and I'm going to pop this into my photo editor. And here you can see I'm taking a photo with my iPad and we will go from there. So here we are in the photo editor and I'm moving quickly because I think by now we all know how to edit photos. And I said this before, that it really is about how you're feeling in the moment. I think that in particular with artwork, we need to honor where we are. And if right now you know, you're feeling like you want dramatic warm, then that's what you should be choosing. I'm saturating it and, and I'm cropping it. And I've sort of discovered that I see this door window possibility. So now I've popped it into Procreate to just sort of see like okay, what, what will that look like? I don't have a direction yet, but I'm just playing now with the saturation and the color balance. And I'm liking this blue and pink combo, so I'm going to save that. And then we'll move onto the digital artwork. 5. PMixed-media, Filters & Illustration: So let's start by creating a 3000 by 3000 pixel canvas. And I'm going to go ahead and add a photo. And here I've actually turned it upside down because when I was looking at the photos, I just notice that I kind of liked the composition better upside down. So I encourage you to just use your imagination, you know what before it looked like a really obvious door and window has now turned into an inside window. It was like an interior of a room. And I see that there's this window and a figure standing at it. So I'm, right now, I'm just playing with that possibility. So here you can see that I'm sort of comparing the two. I'm seeing like how I can add a bit of of a wall. I know that it's hard to see it now, but you will in when I work on it. But I just want to express what I'm doing so that you can also think of different ways to use your mixed media background. Okay, so I'm gonna go for it and I'm adding a layer here so that I can begin my sketch of this figure. And nothing is ever set in stone. But so we can always change your mind. But I kinda like the feeling. I'm very inspired by Matisse's rooms, the artist Matisse. So I like the idea that there is this female figure looking out the window. I'm already seeing a moon, you know, she's looking out at a night sky. So I think for me it's really important to keep these figures really simple when I have a busy background. But the beauty of it, the magic of it is in the layers of transparency. So I'm going to show you how I do that. It just takes a little bit of experimentation and a willingness to work through the discomfort of not knowing exactly how it's going to look. I'm speeding up the sketch here and here you'll be able to see more clearly what I mean by a room. And there is a ground that she's standing on and then there's that corner where that wall is where I added that other photo right when I moved when I moved that other photo in. And here I'm just a preference thing. I wanted to have long hair, don't want her to have a braid and think I just decided since I like to save with my hair pulled back, She is also going to have her hair pulled back. So the most important thing right now, I'm inking her and I am using that studio pen that's under inking in the brush menu. And the most important thing here is to keep all of her parts on a different layer. And so we don't have so many layers. I'm going to keep her really simple. And the reason I keep each of her parts, you know, her pants on its own layer, It's top on its own layer is so that I can affect each one of those layers with a different filter, including her skin. Because sometimes you just never know. There might be a cool filter that will just add something. Maybe not. But I just like to give myself that option. So here you can see that I'm just adding little feet and the hands. And I'm moving quickly so that we can get to the part where I really like you to see the different options that we have with the filters. And we talk through how I come to the decisions that I do. For me. I just get so excited about using filters. So I'm gonna go ahead and go through some filters. I really love this one on her top. And you can see that that mixed media background really does play with the color in fun ways. And here, now I'm auditioning different colors for her top, just popping in different colors. I started it with pink and now I'm moving through different ones. And often, more often than not, I usually go back to the first one that I loved. But here I think I really loved this. These blue is blue colors and now and just affecting her pants. So here I am not liking the harsh line that I can see on her pajama bottom. So I like the filter, but now I'm scrolling through to see if there's an even better filter because there's a harsh line that I don't know if you can see it there on her left leg, sort of like where her a bottom ends and begins. And so for this, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go and grab the under sketching. I'm going to grab the 6 B pencil and I'm going to use the pink from the background and I'm on the mixed media background layer and I'm just sketching in the pink. Now, you won't see it obviously pink because her pant leg is covering it up. I'm on the layer of the background. So essentially I'm just coloring in the pink where that black line is on the background. And you can see here that it just disappeared. Now if I'd use the eraser, then you might see the white background of the canvas. But this is why that six B pencil for sketching in like I used in project 1, is such a valuable tool. So here you can see that the pant leg is interacting with her top. And so we have that purple band. And so what I'm gonna do here is I'm going to extend the purple band using the inking pen so that it looks similar to what is already there. And I probably should have done this on its own layer, but I just I'm still on her pant layer and that's fine. And I'll do some more clean up like around your hand in different parts of the composition. Here at the end, what I'd like to do is jump ahead to finishing up how I can make the room with the walls and the floor really differentiated. So to do that, I'll go to the wrench and I'll go to Canvas, and I'm going to be selecting the grid. So here I am just increasing the opacity of the grid line and I've increased its size so that you can see, I'm sorry, that I I noticed that my iPad wasn't in the full frame of the camera. So here I've corrected. And it just, you hold onto the pencil your finger to make that line snaps straight and just give it a moment so that it does. And then same thing with the corner so that it snaps straight. And then I will go ahead and put in a color that I will also apply a filter to. And for me, it really is just all about the layers and it's just a reaction. And usually, you know, I want it to be contrasting to what is already there. So sometimes when I pick an initial color, it doesn't, doesn't really work, but the filter kind of excites me. So then I think, Oh, well, I bet it would look even better if I tried it with a different color. And so this happens a lot where the filter is telling me, yes, this is the one, but we just needed different colors, so just don't be afraid to audition lots of different colors like here I'm pulling in this like why me yellowy green, just to see what happens. And depending on the filter, it's going to have a different effect. Okay, so now I'm moving on and I'm going to create with my selection tool, I'm using the ellipse down at the bottom to create a circle so that I can create a moon. And here I'm just popping in the white. And this too is going to go through the filters. And you can see here that it's just kinda cool how based on the background that, you know, whatever it is that's in the background that's causing it to react with the filter. And I like this particular book, but as always, I have to audition some different colors, but I do love that woman essence. And so I'm just going to play with just a couple more colors before I commit. So here I am again playing with her pajama top. And of course I'm going all the way back to the very beginning of come full circle. And the next step is just to clean up some little areas so I see something that looks like might be sticking out of her face. So I'm going to use my six feet sketching pencil and use the dark blue of the sky to fill that in. And now we're going to play with the moon a little bit. So now for the moon, I'm using under luminance, I'm using the light brush and I love this particular brush because it just has that, you know, or a look and feel. And even this, I mean, I started with like a deep purple. I'm going through the filters to see if there's one stands out more than the other. So you can see that even like these little details you can affect with the filter how, how it all looks in here. I'm going through the moon, I'm going through the saturation and brightness to see if there's anything I can do to the moon to make it pop a little bit more. And I'm increasing that size of the aura of the light glow around the moon using that luminance light flash. And I really like that. Look, the reason I go really small. It's so that I can tell, see if I can tell with my eye that it will end up looking good on Instagram where the photos a lot smaller. And here I'm just auditioning some colors for some chunky socks that she might be wearing. But all of that has to do with the filters. Any kind of magic that you see happening in her clothing is just all on the filters. So I encourage you to just play as much as you possibly can. It's not about whether you can draw something cool. It really just is there simple shapes that we're applying filters too? And last but not least, I like to put the photo, the final photo in the photo editor and just see if there isn't just any kind of change that I can make in the photo editor to give it a little more punch. In the next video, I'll be creating a mixed media background using paper and paint and a little bit of fabric. 6. Creating Backgrounds With Paint, Fabric & Paper: Welcome back. For this third background, I'm going to be combining paper and I'll be adding fabric as well and the paint. And so here I have a book that's in French. I love going shopping and thrift stores. And in particular, if you're thinking about making a travel illustration, It's really nice to have, you know, the language, you know, just some words that makes the theme a little bit stronger. So I'm just going to tear out a piece there. And I'm also going to use a piece out of this cool old dictionary. And I like to go in my neighborhood here near Portland. We have a lot of book kiosks that my neighbors have created. And so just torn this particular piece out of this book from a kiosk that has a lot of the word French in it. And so this is going to be another part of my theme. And here I'm adding this Batik, which I have described in creating background number two. And I also have some paints and I have lavender on my mind thinking about lavender fields in France. And even though I may not use this color at all, the lavender color, It's inspiring me now, even though I may change the color in Procreate. So I've got my dark medium and my light value. And this is probably the most important part of any artwork, is trying to get some contrasts going. So here again, I have a light batik cotton fabric and I'm cutting my paper and I'm not worrying about the edge being straight. And I'm actually tearing my fabric because I really love that raw edge. And I feel, again, it's a feeling and I'm gonna do the same thing with the paper. I'm just not going to use the scissors. And I'm going to begin with mod podge the match, the one that I've used before. And this is perfect for these kinds of digital artworks. You don't have to go to a lot of expense. You want to put your mod podge on very liberally and just have a very inexpensive phone brush. And you're just going to lay your first, either a fabric or paper on some mod podge and then you're going to cover it. So you want every piece that you use to be very well saturated, right? So make sure that it's also linked super flat, that there are no air bubbles. And then you can layer things on top. Again, just making sure that you squeeze out all the air bubbles. And with paper or papers, actually a little more challenging, which is why I have it here in my third video. I just want you to be mindful of getting the air out or paper just has the tendency to wrinkle when it's wet. So I'm just using my finger to really squish it out. So there is no right or wrong in how you place your background elements. It's all just sort of a feel I like to, in this case, I'm creating a little bit of a grid pattern, but it doesn't have to be if you wanted to just cut out circles and place circles all over your paper, you're welcome to do that. One of the things I talk a lot about in my art classes is just trusting yourself and trusting the process. I really believe we all have a genius soul inside of each of us. And that soul is directing the show. And we just have to be in tune. And art has given me that gift for sure. Where it's shown me that, you know, whenever I think like, oh gosh, I don't know where I'm going from here. All it's sometimes all it takes is just to walk away for a little bit and then come back. And then I figure out the direction that an artwork wants to go. And it's very much in my opinion about where the artwork and wants to go. And so I'm always in that process of listening. I believe we all have creativity and not all of us necessarily feel particularly artistic. But I like to debunk those kinds of thoughts by showing you how you can just make something incredibly artistic and incredibly interesting with lots of layers and a lot of texture without having an art degree. And it's incredibly satisfying to get your hands dirty and to move paint around with your fingers. You know, it just puts me in direct contact with that little girl in me that loved just to finger paint and kind of lose herself in the colors. And I wasn't exposed to a lot of art as a child at all. In fact, Art didn't come into my life until I was in my 30s. So for me, this has just been this huge gift in this huge world that's opened up and it's really fun to experiment. And I really do feel like every artwork takes me on a new adventure. So here I'm using pallet paper and you absolutely don't need this, but you could also use wax paper. And because I'm noticing that my artwork is drying and it's sticking to the paper on the table. So that's why I'm placing this little bit of pallet paper underneath. Okay, so here I'm just smashing some paint around. And I just want to mention that, you know, nowadays these craft paints come in so many wonderful colors. And I always say this, you know, pick the first three that really jump out at you. Light a medium and a dark color. And the human eye actually sees contrast before we see color. So when we are drawn to something, I mean, think about like a forest, right, with all its amazing shades of green, we see the differences because the contrast is there, their value differences, right? The other thing I like about starting with these mixed media backgrounds Before I go pop them into the digital art work is that it gets me primed. And here I'm just using another scrap piece of painted paper to smush that white down. But it gets you primed your, your creativity. You know, it's like you're, you're waking your soul up and going up. This is what we're doing. We're playing and we're having a good time. And then that whole feeling, you know, goes into digital artwork too. And I feel like half the job is done because sometimes these backgrounds will often they inspire what it is that I'm going to draw. And certainly the colors that I will manipulate. The photo editor will also be the colors that I make for the digital artwork. So here we go. I'm going to take a photo and pop it into my photo editor in the next video. 7. ProMixed-media, Photo & Illustration: Welcome to Project 3. I'm in the photo editor and I'm making adjustments to this background just using the filters. I'm going with a vivid warm and now I'm just dropping the saturation and upping the exposure a little bit into review that you can see how I did that a little bit slower in Project 1. And as in all my videos, I'm going to start with a 3000 by 3000 pixels square, and I'm going to insert that background. And you can see here where that square paper shape really helps when we're dealing with a square composition, digital composition. And one thing that I really am excited to show you is how to bring in a photo into the super busy backgrounds. And I think what I'm gonna do is just keep with the French theme. I'm gonna go find a photo that I'm thinking about that I took in Paris. And so even though, you know, I started out with lavender fields on the brain, now I'm inserting a Paris city shot. So the photo doesn't fit obviously. And if I expand it, I would cut off the very top of that roof, which is pretty cool. So I'm just going to leave it as it is and see what comes. Well, I do love the reds in this photo. I'm also kind of intrigued by the idea of making this a black and white photo and seeing how it interacts with the background. So that's the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm there in saturation and brightness just a little bit. And now I'm going to go through the filters and see what kind of reactions we can get. So now I'm going through the filters fairly quickly and I'm wanting to see the fabric and excuse me, the words and the building come through and I'm doing that, but I see also that there's paint blocking the building. So I'm going to use my move tool to flip it horizontally. And that moves that paint of the background to the left-hand side. And now I can see part of the building and I can see the words. Now, I've added a layer and I'm adding a color. So I'm just gonna go through my palette and just pick the first color that jumps out at me. And here it's a red and I'm going to drag that color over what I've already created. And I'm going to bring some filters to this red color and see how the color interacts with the photo and the background. And the reason I do this is a single color really has a way of unifying the piece. So basically what I'm doing is I'm going with the flow. So the red really spoke to me. And right now I don't see how or why, but I'm so going through the filters and seeing if there's something that appeals. And sometimes, you know, it has to be a few colors that I audition before I make that kind of decision. But this, wow, this pink and red actually is really speaking to me because I love that there's this black and white photo still coming through the Texas coming through and the paint. So I think that that is the one that I'm going to continue with. Next thing I'm doing is I'm going to move this photo. So the actual photo of the city, I've got my move tool selected. And I'm just going to go ahead and see what happens if I move it a little bit over. And now I want to really bring out some of that building. So in order to do that, I'm going to be on the photo layer and I'm going to adjust the brightness. And here you can see that that really made Building pop. Next, we're going to see, I'm going to affect the background photo and see if flipping it will make the lower area of this composition any stronger. So these are just subtle changes and I'm just sort of seeing that this is definitely the stronger composition for me. I like that I can really see the building clearly. And also I like just the overall look of this background. The next step is to save this background and I'm just putting it in the photo editor just to make any little changes that might make it even stronger like more contrast. So now I'm going to go back to Procreate, and I'm going to go ahead and begin my sketch. And to do that, I'm going to use, I'm going to get on a new layer. I'm gonna make my characters parts no eye on as many layers as I can so that if I choose to, I can affect them individually. So I'm going to try to find here bright color for you so that you can see my sketch. And I, as I usually like to do with a sketch, is I'm going to use my six B pencil, which is in sketching. And I have a lot of space here on the left-hand side. And I don't know if you remember from the photo, but there were some people sitting at a cafe and they're quite pushed back and I don't know that we can really see them. They're my inspiration for this idea of a female character sitting at a little Paris cafe. Maybe she's, maybe she's even writing in her journal. So I'm going to speed through the sketch part and then I'll slow it down again when I ink. So at some point I'm just talking out loud here. I know that I'm going to have to ground her. I'm not going to feel comfortable with her just sort of floating in space here with this background. But I know I'll be able to do that later. So just for now, I'm just getting the sketch to be where I want it to be. And I do like the idea that maybe she's drinking a glass of wine and she, there's some flowers on her on the table. And I know that the colors that I use are going to have to be bold in order for the character to really jump out from this busy background. So we'll see for sure I want to use green by the heavy feeling. It's going to be some pretty bright green. In order for that to happen. I always recommend doing your sizing at the sketch. Point. Compositions are in your drawing, Excuse me. In this way, you know, if you're inking, you're already set, you already have a sense of where things are, you know, how big things need to be as favorably to your background. Okay. So now moving on to inking her and I do have my studio pen from the inking brushes. And I may have to change, you know, her skin color just to make sure it pops. But for now I'm just going to use this flesh tone. And one thing that, again, I can't emphasize enough, it's a really good idea to have all the parts on different layers so that you really can affect your layers individually. And you don't have to do a lot of free drawing. And I like to use that selection tool, that freehand tool to do any cleanup as I go. And it's so much better I think then, then the eraser to get those sharp, clean lines. So this character, she's much more elaborate than my first second projects. But it doesn't necessarily mean that it's much more difficult as long as I'm using really simple shapes, I feel like It's just the whole thing as much as pretty manageable, even if there are a lot of layers. And here I'm using the colors and not slowing down because this did take me a really long time to do. But the colors that I'm pulling, with the exception of the greens, are from the background. So for example, the, her hair is actually a version of that red of the background. And her skirt is a version of some an orangey red that I also pulled from the background. So I'm using, you know, the disk and also the, the classic color picker in the palette. Just to find a hue that is in the same color families as the different parts of the background. And the reason I do this is so that again, the whole piece feels unified and we've got the pop of different color with the greens. And, you know, it doesn't, it doesn't take a lot of color difference, right? To make it make it really contrast. And I think that just a little bit of green goes along way to make her stand out. And now I'm just doing some detail work, some pretend lettering for her journal. And I'm going to start working on her face here shortly. I don't know. I don't feel that you have to put all of the facial features on characters. I think it's just enough sometimes just to do a few. And one little tip for eyes. Eye lashes don't have to be in, you know, just in the traditional sense. I think here just a triangle suggests that she has some eyelashes and just adding that little bit of neck chateaux also helps too. Separate her head and also emphasize that, you know, she is looking down. In fact, here I'm just adjusting her head so that it is tilting more and now I'm just placing her nose so that and correcting because I just did move her whole head and her hair just to move down. And so that's just another reason to have everything on different layers in the interests of time, I'm jumping ahead. I've added some details, the wine and the flowers, but I don't like what's happening behind her legs. I feel like it's really busy. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go grab the initial background that I created and I'm going to take a piece of this. And I'm just going to use my selection tool to just grab a rectangle actually. So I like, I want what I'm trying to do is get more texts to be under her legs and under the chair that she's sitting on. So I'm going ahead and I'm just cutting and pasting a piece of that background. I'm getting rid of the part that I don't want. And then I'm going to drag that layer of texts to go all the way under that red that I used at the very beginning. And this also results for me. What I didn't like was that I didn't feel she was grounded. And so the texts just grounds her in my view. And to emphasize the point that that is the ground, I'm going to do a repeat pattern with these little fleur delete the shapes that I made there. Just imagine flowers and I'm cutting out and pasting that stem from the background and repeating it. So that way, it looks like these flowers are, again, they're imagined, but they are also connected to the ground. And aligned doesn't have to be straight. You know, it can be dots, it can be a broken mine. What's really cool about our brain is that it fills in gaps and it tells us that even though we can see that this isn't a real flower and it's stem isn't going all the way into the ground. It creates the illusion that we're, we're grounded. So thanks you guys. In the next video, I'm going to offer a little bonus video. So that will be a surprise and hopefully you'll enjoy it. Thanks a lot. 8. Bonus Video - Mixed-media With Photos: Hi everyone, welcome to the bonus video. Here I have three layers. I have a background mixed media layer, I have a bridge, a photo of a bridge, and I also have a photo of a female figure. And one thing I'd like to do is just bring in an assortment of photos and then take them through the blending modes. And here you can see that I'm just starting from the top. I am just scrolling through all the ways that that mixed media background is playing with the layers beneath it. And sometimes it's hard to explain, but it's just a feeling like I really am drawn to this particular combination. However, I'm noticing that because there's this light background on the lower part of the bridge. I I'm wondering, okay, what would happen if I flipped my mixed media background. And so I'm gonna go to the move tool and I'm going to hit Vertical. And now you can see that we can see the bridge a little bit clearer. So I like the way that the mixed media background and the bridge is interacting in this particular moment. Now I'm going to see what the blending modes, if I'm on the bridge layer brings and see how these interact with the female figure below. Now, obviously I'm going to be rearranging all of these photos. But this is just playing like I just want to know I'm testing things out and just sort of seeing where, where am I going. And I really like that. Sounds really cool. So I really like the way this particular one is interacting. So what I'm gonna do, like the way it's kinda that has that pink orange. And I may not end up with this particular blending mode. But this is how I approach a lot of these digital artworks where I just feel like seeing where the muse takes me. So from here now, I need to think about, okay, So I've lost the bridge. It's been obscured by the blending mode, so I'm going to be moving the figure. And next I'm going to move the bridge and see what comes if I make it really small. And what I like is this idea of a window. And perhaps, you know, she's looking out the window or if you're just sitting there meditating and there's this bridge that you can see out in the distance. So next, as you saw me do in other videos, I'm adding a layer with a color and it's to unify the piece. And you saw this happening in, in particular in project 3. But you can see here that I can see the figure and the bridge. And I've got some interesting mixed media stuff happening. But I need to find something that really brings it all together for me. So I'm just scrolling through and I think I'm landing on this one. And even though I don't see the figure very clearly at this point, it's the color combination that I really like. So let's stick with us for just a little bit. Okay. So the bridges drawing me in and I think I would like to see if maybe adjusting the brightness makes it pop and it does. So I'm going to really up, or actually in this case I'm going to drop the brightness down. But it has that interesting effect because of a blending mode that's on it. So I like, I like where this is going. But I don't love the harsh line, the rectangle, that line at the top. So what I'm doing here is I have my selection tool and I have it on freehand. And I'm just selecting the top of the bridge layer and I'm cutting that away. So the idea here is I want to create the sky and have it within that window frame. So I'm just sort of playing around with this idea. So I'm just checking to see I definitely do not like that harsh lines, so I prefer it removed. So I have an inking brush and I have a studio pen selected, and I'm on a new layer. And I'm just filling in the space with a blue just to see what kind of effect that I can create. And remember, you know, I really believe in having lots of layers that you can affect each one. And here I'm just trying to place this idea of a blue sky within that window frame. So let's just see what happens. And obviously the color is really stark and it doesn't really go with the other colors. But it's just a point somewhere to begin. So let's just take it through the filters and see if something interesting comes of it. And now I'm adjusting the colors. So I'm throwing in some different colors on that blue to see if there's something that will work a little bit better than that. Really bright blue. And I like this one. This is a little bit darker blue. And it's interacting nicely with the rest of the artwork. But I don't love the angle of it and so I'm just going to fill in the rest of it all the way to the top. And I'm just going to clean up a little bit with my selection tool, just make it nice and straight. And I'm using that rectangle tools so that way, the window now appears to be going beyond the canvas. And now I have my selection tool selected and I'm going to cut and paste out my figure. So I've decided that I want to move the mixed media background so that she looks like she's looking out the window. So I'm doing as I did in project 2, and I know I'm moving really fast here, so I'm bringing in the same. Mixed media layer, and I'm right now auditioning to see, okay, how does it fit with the composition that I already have? So I'm just moving it around and checking it out and see which one works for me. So what I'm doing here is I'm using my selection tool and I have the Rectangle Tool selected so that I can just grab that piece that interests me and I liked those red blob shapes the most. So now I'm just going to cut and paste. And I will go to the layer and make sure I get rid of the part that I don't want anymore. And here you can see that part is now separated and I can delete it. And here I'm simply sizing that piece fits and I'm adjusting the color of that layer so that it works well with the rest of the composition. Okay, to make the figure pop, I'm using an inking pen, the studio pen, and I'm going to fill in her body with a color. And in this case I'm just still in the same blending mode as I was before. So that green that I'm going to drag into her is actually going to also have a blending mode. Now, I don't like this, so I'll try a little light purple and this is better. Now, the next thing I wanna do is give her some hair. Okay, so I made the moon as I did in project two. I got a little sidetracked there. So I already showed you how to do that in Project 2 so you can review that. And now I'm using the inking brush again, my studio pen to just give her some hair. And I'm jumping ahead here because I decided to outline her with the studio pen and now I'm changing my mind and now I'm out doing a separate layer outlining her with my sketching pencil just to see if it's just a little more organic. And so I haven't gotten rid of the ink outline, but I'm now just, you know, kind of toggling between the two to see which one I prefer. And I think I do like the sketching 60 tensile better. And then I've also decided that I want to lengthen our hair and I'm just using that selection tool, the free hand tool to cut and or excuse me, to duplicate flowers and fill in a little bit more. And here I just want to point out that I'm using the Move tool, the warp tool, actually the Advanced Mesh. And that's just, you can use that to fit things into curves. And here I'm just cleaning up, you know, as I said, I decided to use the sketching pencil. And I also have decided to do the same thing to her shorts. Here. I'm just cleaning up as you know, I prefer using the selection tool over the eraser tool. And just as I showed you in project 3, I'm using a sketching pencil to correct any kind of little things that I don't like in the next video background. So here I'm just outlining her shorts with sketching pencil. With this bonus video, I really wanted to appeal to those of you who don't feel as comfortable drawing. You can use photos, copyright-free photos online to use trace them or no, as I did here was just a direct photo that I manipulated and there's just tracing involved, right? So hopefully you found that to be interesting. I had a really great time creating these videos for you. I hope you've enjoyed the class. I look forward to seeing your projects are mine and please do not hesitate to ask me any questions. Thank you, everybody. 9. Inspiration Video: In this inspiration video, I'm sharing some tips and tricks by going inside the layers panel of some of my mixed media digital artworks. Okay, In this first digital artwork, I'm going to show you how I took these two backgrounds and turn them into the figure you see. So as you can see, I've began with actual landscape and I use those two backgrounds and they are interacting with one another. And also with the hill shapes that you can see that I'm pointing to right here. And their color, and they all have their own different blend mode. And so it's the combination, as we've learned in the other project videos that makes the changes and it affects her as a figure. And here I'm going to show you that she is just a pink shape that I placed in the center of this landscape and also gave her blend modes and her hair. You can see here is actually just paint from the background that I have outlined with another color. And there it is, it's the purple and it's reacting to the background. Now as a composition, I felt like she was strong, but you'd be even stronger with just a plain landscape, which was all done in inks and the greens I pulled from her clothing, they are just darker and lighter hues. And then I use a 6 B pencil to give her Harrison strands. Let's take a look inside this piece. So it began with this mixed media art work where I just laid on top these ripped, torn papers and I saw these three stems and this is on a canvas so you can apply many more layers than you can to paper. So I like to buy these inexpensive canvases and I also like to keep a journal where I create surface designs on mixed media paper. And you can see that it can take a lot of paint, a lot of layers, a lot of scratching. And it all adds to create lots of cool effects and the digital space. So these two backgrounds are the basis for this artwork. And I think more than anything, what I want to show you here because it's the same thing using a lot of blend modes. But I took a picture of myself in the kitchen and, you know, I talk a lot about like feeling, getting into the feeling of things and I was feeling really good. I was in my sweat, so suing only comfortable as feeling kinda lazy one of those lazy days and I decided to take a picture that felt very authentically me, you know, and it's not the most attractive picture, it's kinda slob and Lee, but I just felt so good. And so that was sort of the inspiration for this whole piece is just feeling really good in myself and feeling really good in the world and then the world reflecting all that goodness back to me. So in the layers panel you can see that I have the two backgrounds there at the bottom, each with their own blend modes. And even though the canvas with the torn flowers had three flowers, I decided just to add another shape that would also reflect, or excuse me, add one more flower and I moved flowers using the selection tool. And then I just use simple landscape shapes too. With different colors and applied there, those blend modes. And then the stems, you can see them there in the middle of the layers panel. They're green and there's a red one. And then those also got their different blend modes just to make it more interesting. And here you can see that I'm turning them on and off. Here the piece on the right was created with the same canvas that I used in the last photo, except that it doesn't have those Torn Paper Flowers. This piece has a lot less layers, but I do want to point out that just even framing this background window or art piece in the mixed media, I'm background highlighting that really gives the illusion that we're inside a room and nothing else is really needed to make that point. You know, she's obviously doing some stretching and yoga. And the other thing that I wanted to show you this piece is, you know, she's just a simple figure. I actually take figure drawing. I go to a class where there are models that we sketch and it's just such an effective and wonderful way to strengthen our gestures, which is like the stroke and the flow of the human figure. So here I just did an outline of a sketch that I've done in the past, and I filled it in with that pink color and then gave it some blend modes. And here you can see me going through. And even though there's, I can see that I made a mistake, I didn't actually outlined hurt entirely, but it just doesn't matter. You know, it's very painterly. Here you can see something a little more dramatic and her hair is also on its own layer and with its own blend mode. And just few details like the flower and just the little wisps of hair are enough, um, for the figure doesn't, she doesn't have to be more complicated. So here we have a background piece, just like you learned in the project videos. We have fabric and paint and paper. And just as in project 1, we have just a simple, some simple shapes that bring a little character to life. And a few things I just want to point out is that the little body is just simply a rounded triangle with no point. And then we have this kidney palette shape thing that is kind of the hair OR and here I'm just showing you how it's going through the different blend modes in the background was easy to change in Procreate. It went from being greens to going to purples. And the reason I selected oranges and yellows is because those are complimentary to the purples and the blues that are in the background. So that is one way to create a lot of contrast. And I know I keep saying this, but the 6 B pencil is awesome for outlining and kind of just gives a more contrast against the inking components of the figure. I also again will repeat about keeping everything on different layers that you can affect everything differently. And all that adds up to contrast, which can strengthen the composition and keep it from looking flat. So this is a piece I want to share because as sometimes happens with creatives like you and me, inspiration just isn't there. And sometimes we just have to get out of a rut, right? And so one of the things I encourage you is that Mixed Media Journal or canvases or just to have these backgrounds ready. And I have several of these old canvases that I just keep adding more paint to. And here I just cut out a pretty lotus from fabric and laid it on top. And then because I wanted it to be easy, I went to Flickr slash comments or creativecommons.org. I honestly can't remember where I found this figure. But anyway, she represented to me the sense of freedom and that she's in control of how she feels. And so I just simply outlined her. And like all the other pieces, you know, it it got its own blend mode. And you can see there in the layers panel, I think I felt a little magic and something happened when I added these hearts and I gave them the blend mode with the blue. And then that informed the decision to use that really kind of heavenly blue for the words. And then I, you got out my six B pencil and outlined the lotus with the same color. So this is one of the backgrounds that resulted from the first video creating backgrounds, one. And I saw in this, this figure, and it was really easy for me just to sort of see that face and add the eye. But this piece meant more to me from a symbolic point of view. Her shapes are really simple. Her body is just a color that I added to delineate her body, but it's all very subtle, right in her arm also is transparent. I wanted her to be holding a mirror. I mean, because art is subjective, you might see that a butterfly is going through a net or you might see that she's releasing. I know she's transforming by letting this butterfly go. But I saw a mirror and seeing kind of beyond the mirror of what she sees. And so sometimes are at least in my life, you know, the mirror has often told me what I don't like about my body. And I feel like I wanted this piece to symbolize that. It just doesn't matter what the mirror says or what my thoughts say, right. Or what I believe the mirror is telling me. So here I'm showing you that I use to blend mode, use with the 6 B pencil on that layer with the text and I just love how. And it also just is very bright. But you can also see through it a little bit. So all this is to say that sometimes just looking at these mixed media background, sometimes they're telling us something that we're ready to own and integrate into ourselves. And I feel like ART is just so powerful that way. I hope this class has helped, will help you see your artworks in a new way and that your mixed media backgrounds bring you lots of joy. Thanks.