Mark Making: Abstract Art Prompt #3 Handmade Tools | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Mark Making: Abstract Art Prompt #3 Handmade Tools

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

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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

    • 1.

      Class Intro


    • 2.

      Class Demo Supplies


    • 3.

      Supplies for Handmade Tools


    • 4.

      Handmade Tool #1: Straw Brush


    • 5.

      Handmade Tool #2: Spool Dabbers


    • 6.

      Handmade Tool #3: Altering Pencils


    • 7.

      Handmade Tool #4: Cardboard Combs


    • 8.

      Handmade Tools #5: Cardboard 2


    • 9.

      Handmade Tool #6: Cardboard Tube


    • 10.

      Handmade Tool #7: Gift Card Spreaders


    • 11.

      Handmade Tool #8 Altered Brushes


    • 12.

      Handmade Tool #9 Foam Stamps


    • 13.

      Prompt #3 & Thumbnail Sketches


    • 14.

      Layer 1 - Background


    • 15.

      Layer 2 - Collage


    • 16.

      Layer 3 - Paint Layer


    • 17.

      Layer 4 Mark Making


    • 18.

      Class Wrap Up & Variations


    • 19.

      Bonus Class: Inside My Mark Making Journal


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About This Class

Mark Making: Abstract Art Prompt #3 is the third class in the mark making series. We will continue to explore the role of various marks in the process of creating abstract pieces. Today’s class focuses on making somewhat uncontrolled marks using handmade tools. 

Class includes nine examples of simple tools, using everyday items, to create marks. We’ll alter, construct, and repurpose various objects and supplies to create unique implements that will be used to create intriguing layers in our paintings and mixed media pieces.

In addition to the nine lessons on creating tools, we’ll review Abstract Art Prompt #3, to inspire you to create artwork. This two-step prompt is an open ended challenge, designed to offer additional experience practicing abstract art.

The class demonstration uses acrylic paints and collage, but the concepts can be transferred to other mediums.

Class downloads include a Class Supply List, an Abstract Art Prompt #3,  a Thumbnail Sketch Sheet, and an Illustrated Class Overview.

Refer to other classes in the series:

Mark Making: Abstract Art Prompt #1

Mark Making: Abstract Art Prompt #2

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as an educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

As of March 2023 I have a catalog of classes on Skillshare. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my Patreon Channel or my YouTube Channel for additional class info... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Class Intro: Hello. I'm Daniella Melon, an artist and author. Thanks for joining me for today's class on abstract art. Today's class is the third in the mark, making Siri's that uses simple strokes as the basis of abstract pieces. And like the other two classes in the Siri's, we'll follow a simple prompt as a guide to create a compelling painting. But unlike the other classes, in addition to the prompt and the process demo, I'll show you nine handmade tools that I use in my artwork. These tools are really simple. Some are repurposed items, others are altered supplies, and there's also a couple that will construct. Each tool is made from things you probably have around the house, and I hope they inspire you to see more things that you can use in your artwork. Now back to the abstract art lesson Today's class. Use a simple two step prompt. Then you can tailor to suit your style. You can use any medium you prefer, such as water color, acrylic paints or even combined media. Today I'll show the process using mixed media of acrylic paints and collage, and we'll use our hand me tools in the process. Okay, Now there's some downloads for class, including a supply list of a prompt number three challenge Ah thumbnail sketch sheet and an illustrated class overview to help you through the process. And I've included a brief bonus class on some pages from my Mark making journal and how I use them. I hope you enjoy the class and are inspired to try another abstract art challenge. Now we've got a lot to do, so let's get started. 2. Class Demo Supplies: So these are the supplies that I'll use for the demo for today's class on the handmade mark making tools are third prompt in the mark making Siri's. There are two handouts or downloads here. One is a thumbnail sketch sheet with some ideas and then some blank spaces for you to create your own thumbnail sketches For your finished project, the 2nd 1 is a little more in depth. Look at our prompt for today. Um, just the composition of it. Then for class. I'm gonna do a combination, a mixed media piece, really a combination of collage. And I'm gonna use acrylics today. So I have a couple of pieces of paper, just neutral colors that I wanted to collage ones just from a note pad once a piece of scrapbook paper. Then I took a manila folder for my substrate, and I cut a piece of eight by 10 paper. I'm not gonna make a heavy painting today, so this will suffice. I have some Matt Medium to adhere. My collage. I have three colors plus white off my acrylic paint, a standard paintbrush, and then I just have some of my can made mark making tools somewhere, just repurposed items and summer ones that I kind of assembled myself. And we'll go over more of these in the oncoming chapters and will use these for today's prompt. In the next chapter, I'll show you some of the supplies will use to create our handmade tools, and then we'll start creating or hand me tools. 3. Supplies for Handmade Tools: now here are some supplies that I have most are can be found around the house that I use for making my handmade tools for Mark making. Now, when I make my handmade tools in most cases these air temporary tools, I don't expect them to have a long shelf life, some last the life of the project that I'm currently working on and others can last longer . But again, I don't have it in mind that I'm going to keep this item and handed down generations these air kind of diss items to use to create the marks that I want to make. So, overall, these are all the items will use today to show you the different techniques, and you can choose the ones that really speak to you that you think you might use. Or maybe they will inspire you to use some other objects that you do have around the house . So start out with old gift cards cards you get in the mail or even a playing card will work there. Usually laminated, they're pretty strong. Will use this for the project. Paper towel roll, thes air. Always good. The cardboard rolls, a gift wrap role would work, and some of them are actually a little more sturdy than others. So you'll get different uses from those here we have some is expensive paintbrushes quality , fairly good quality, but ones that I don't mind parting with because I'm gonna alter them. So we'll work on these as well. Here I have a new dust room and I use it knew just because my old dust brooms air in terrible condition. But what I do is I cut out the straw to make my own brushes and texture tools will go over this as well. I have some very inexpensive, um, spools here. These are just plastic spools, and I use those. I remove the string and I use those to make marks and will again review that in a further chapter. It's more of a repurpose ing item. I have some brand new pencils and these air both number two pencils that just some have black and summer yellow, and I used these both for this side as well as the eraser side. I have some cotton swabs, thes air, always good, different absorbency ease. Now these air some ultra cheap paintbrushes, thes air, usually sold as kids brushes. They come in a set of 10 or 20 very, very inexpensive. I usually have these on hand because I use them to put paint glue or Jess Oh, or something that I know can really damage my good quality brushes when I have them in abundance. I'll use those in different ways, and we'll go over that as well. I have some bamboo skewers. You can use toothpicks if you like, as well, an old wine cork. And then here I have some items that are quite interesting. This is just a packaging from a supply that I had, and this shape is wonderful for using to make impressions, and this role can be used in multiple ways. So I say that in mind, keep that in mind for when I'm making my projects. When I make my own stamps, I like to use a clear piece of plexi glass if I have it. This is a thin plexi glass that I can cut easily. But if I don't have plexi glass or I don't want to spend money on it or don't want to use it, I'll just save some of the packaging. These air, usually from bury containers. They're pretty stiff, and I cut them out so that their flat, you know, cut out this part. And this way I can see where I'm putting my stamp. So this is helpful as well. This is just a cap to some container. And again, I can use this for the same person purpose, because I can see through it and it's a little durable, so I like that. He's also make good stencils or masks if you want to use it. If you don't mind not being able to see where you're putting your stamp exactly, and it's not a big deal. You can use a piece of corrugated cardboard, but we're actually gonna use the cardboard as supply to make a different tool, and we're gonna use it to make other tools as well. So I just took a box that I had and cut it out. You can still see the packaging material on it, and we'll use this because it's corrugated will take advantage of these little Coreg ations and then, lastly, I have a very fixed sheet of foam sheet, um, not phone board, but flexible float foam sheet from the Children's section. I'll use this to make my stamps. You can use thin ones as well. I prefer the thick ones. It just makes it a little neater for me. If I want to paint on my stamp, I don't get the rough edges necessarily. And lastly, you'll just need some supplies to create these pieces. And for that I use tapes. I have masking tape, and this is gaffer tape. I just like that. It's very strong. I have some really thick glue. This is E 6000 some rubber bands, a pair of scissors clamp. And I have this cutting knife here, which is very good for cutting the gift cards, the playing cards and the cardboard, as well as the foam sheets. The next chapter will start are repurposed and temporary handmade tools. 4. Handmade Tool #1: Straw Brush: So I make my straw brush by taking my little straw push broom here, um, and I create them into whatever thickness I want. And I usually keep to on hand at all times one for darker colors and one for light. I don't tend to use this brush from multiple colors. I tend to just use it for accent colors. So too suits me fine. And this kept keeping this on hand will last me a number of years. I could also make make a nice thickness. A nice thick brush here is well, and it's just a slightly different technique. So just just make the small technique. You just take a swatch of your broom that you like. Whatever, um, size you want here. And then I just cut it. And then I take a rubber band and this is just measure to help me hold my brush together, and then I can trim this as I want. Right here will give me a nice ruff edge. It'll splay out nicely, and I contribute shorter, and the closer I get to the top of it here, the more control I'll have, and it will be more like a spatula. I also take a piece of tape and go over the edge of this to really hold it, so it'll look like that when it's done. Now, if I want to make a figure brush, I'll take a lot more of the straw here. So I'll take a good size handful and I'll cut this and again, it just takes a little work to get through all those pieces. So then I have quite a bit by comparison here. So what I'd like to do is take a long piece of tape a lot longer than the brush will end up . I put it down here and then I'll take my brush and spread it out. Whatever density that I want, that's pretty good here. The reason I do this is because if I just tie up a single thick bunch of this, I'll lose a lot of straw. When I'm actually doing my painting, the inner parts will slide out, so I like to put it on my piece here to have quite a bit touching the adhesive once that's in place and I'm kind of happy that I feel like I have a good connection with it. I'll fold over my piece and just roll it up just like this. And then I'll put a final piece on top just to secure it. And there I have my straw broom or my little brush here. Now this one I trimmed down to make it a little Niedere, and after I use it in my paint because it's not going to absorb any of the pain, it's just gonna brush off whatever there is on it. It's not gonna produce a nice even line, and that's why I know that going in. But to clean it, I just taken old rag and just dry it off as much as I can. So I just don't want globs of paint because then the brush pieces will stick together. Eventually. That's inevitable, and that's OK. So that's how we make our individual personalized brushes. Using a straw broom 5. Handmade Tool #2: Spool Dabbers: I like to repurpose items as well. These are all round and so they'll give a different impression of around size. Um, when you make your mark, the cork and the pencil will give a solid, more or less solid, filled in shaped. Whereas these will give just the perimeter, which is kind of a nice effect as well the school here. So all I do is I just take my school and this is a very, uh, poor quality thread. So I don't mind getting rid of it, and I'll just empty the school. And so then, once I have the empty school, I'll have various shapes here that I can use to make impressions little marks here, and because I have an abundance of the spools, I'll empty a few of them and I can create a cluster instead of just having a single circle . I can have a bunch of four or five of them, and these produce different marks as well. 6. Handmade Tool #3: Altering Pencils: Now, pencils are a fun tool because there are so many ways you can alter them, you could use them just as they are. And you could, um, press down and make an impression with either the eraser or the end of the pencil. Here you'll get more of in geometric shape with the other end or more of a rounded shape with the eraser. If you combine them, you can get a multiple shaped tool, and this is kind of a fun one, because it has six pencils, but it's made of seven. So to do this, what I do is I take my pencils and I'll take seven pencils just like this, and I'll put them together and then in the center, I'll put one of the pencils so I'll make sure they fit around each other. And when I have the piece that I like, I'll put a rubber band just to hold it in place. I'll make sure that when I press it down, all the heads of the pencil are flat. And then I'll just very carefully slide that center pencil down so that I have the opening . If I want to keep it so that there are seven dots. I'll leave it up, but I like it so that there's one open just like that. And then I'll just take my tape and I'll do a number of these pieces of tape, so I'll check that my pieces air flat and then I'll take my tape and just put it around the pencils toe. Hold it in place. Just like that, I'll go back. Make sure that these Aarhus flat as they can be, I'll cut off the edge by sawing it with my knife repeatedly. And then I'll have my finish tool just like that, and I'll use this to create a fun impression. Another way to alter the pencil is to take it, and with a pen or pencil, you make a mark that you want to carve out. Essentially, he want to carve it out off of your pencil. And so this one. I want to just make 1/2 circle so I will put my mark down and then very carefully, using my blade very slowly and patiently create that mark, sawing it and then just very gently remove the part that I don't need. And then when I create the impression I have 1/2 circle shape, kind of like an original stamp. Just like that. The other ways to modify the pencil are to put a grommet in the end, and that makes the size even larger. So if I was doing a painting where I wanted to have different shapes besides just the pencil shaped, all I would do is take my pencil and forced my Gromit into it and just use a little pressure. And there I have a different mark making tool just like that. You can also take decorative pin to get the same effect right there on your tool. And lastly, I like to take a pin and put it in the end of my pencil and when I dip it in ink, so this is no different than a stylist at this point. So another option is to cut these pieces down these additional pins down so that you have them all the same size, and then you can put them and have a multiple impression on your pencil. So to do that, I just cut him just like that, and then I will add them to my pencil, make sure that they all touch, and then when I add my ink, I'll get a different mark to make marks with 7. Handmade Tool #4: Cardboard Combs: so I think cardboard is a very useful building tool for creating your own art supplies. There's just so many things you can do with cardboard. We're gonna create thes combs here with them. And so all I do is I take a piece of fairly clean cardboard. I cut it, and then I just make my marks where I want to create my little comb teeth here. And so I'll do this. And I always end on a piece right here and here. And then I'll go when I just clip these lines. And if I'm not interested in them being perfectly spaced, I can eyeball it. If I wanted to be perfectly spaced, I'll just measure it out with a ruler. But all I dio is I create those marks, cut the straight lines, couldn't be any easier. And then I just bend those lines up that I could just created here, and I could push them up with another pen or just use my finger. And here I have created a comb by varying the shapes and the distance between the teeth, you'll get totally different combs. Once you have your pieces bent up like this, I just snip them off and then to make this a little more friendly, even though I know it's not gonna last me an eternity or anything, I take Samat medium, and I just brush it over the teeth on up a little ways. This makes it a little more adorable, totally optional, and it will dry this way if you're only looking to make this to use this for a project or two. There's no need for the mat medium, but I think it gives it a little extra protection. You could do the same thing with a playing card. It's not a stiff, but it has the same effect. And because the card is laminated, it gives a nice, um shape, and it's easy to work with. So once again, I'll create my teeth. I'll make my marks and look at how easy this is. I just bend it up, clip and I'm done. And here I have another comb, and again, I can vary this If I want to make even a teeny little tooth in here in between these big teeth, I can do that just as easily pull those up. Sleep it. And there I have my own custom made comb 8. Handmade Tools #5: Cardboard 2: now, As I stated cardboard, I think it's just a fantastic building tool. Another way you can do it is to use it just as a building material itself. So here I created my own unique paintbrushes just by using the cardboard and then whatever object I want to use as my paintbrush here are used to fix here. I used cotton swamps. I can use bamboo skewers or here I'm going to use these super cheap paintbrushes that I have as well. So the first step is I peel the cardboard to expose the Coreg ations, so I just take bets. I'll just pull that apart, and then I just like to clean out those Coreg ations. I just take my paintbrush and I clean out the core A Gatien. So I have a fairly clean piece, and that's what I have here that will take some of my stronger glue here. I'm using E 6000 but you can use tacky glue or whatever you have on hand, and I'll fill it where I want to put my paintbrushes, and I put the glue, this one in particular on both sides. I want not only the paintbrushes to stick, but I want the cardboard to adhere to itself. I'm gonna take my paintbrushes and because these air flat I want to make sure they're all facing the same way. And I put them down on my cardboard just like this. So I know I have ones on either end and then I'll just stick this one right in the center again. My only thing I want to make sure is that when I have my card, my paintbrushes together they're all the same height. I fold the cardboard over itself just like this again. I could tweak the paintbrushes to make sure they're all facing the correct way. I wouldn't have to do this with these other objects, and then I clamp it just until my glue is dry. So I let this sit overnight. After it's dry, I can wrap tape around it for not thes tend to be more temporary, so I don't bother. But with something like this, with the paint brushes, which I can wash and reuse, I'll put the tape around just to reinforce it and make it easier for me to use 9. Handmade Tool #6: Cardboard Tube: Now, if we have kids, we all know the paper towel rolls, a great art supply. Obviously, you can dip it in paint and create just the circles. You can slightly modify it to create different shapes. And that's what I like to dio. So I find the circle very valuable. What I do is I reinforce it with just a little bit of masking tape. It's gonna create a kind of a wonky circle unless I reinforce the inside with some kind of stuffing. But I don't mind the walkie circles in my mark making. Usually, if I want an exact circle, I'll use something a little more rigid, a different type of circle, perhaps a different type of packaging. But I like to do is I just take my paper towel roll and I try and create a straight cut So I fold this and create my cut because I know that how it touches the paper. If it's flushed with the paper when it's flat, I'll get a better impression. And then I just like to create my shape. And so this one. If I want kind of a like almost a teardrop eyeball shape, I'll create my shape, and then I'll just reinforce it with my tape. And you could make all different variations on this. And it's kind of a fun way to tailor such a simple art supply. I like to take my tape right at the top, where I'm gonna make my impression and just reinforce. And there I have three simple shapes. 10. Handmade Tool #7: Gift Card Spreaders: Another thing I like to do is when I have a gift card. I like toe, alter it, and I use it. Kind of is a spatula or a palette knife, and because it's a gift card and they're very plentiful, I can cut them into whatever with so I want. And I can also alter the edges so I'd like to just take it and cut just long strips very simply. And then I have different shapes from a gift card that now I can use on my paintings to create stripes or to drag marks or to put straight down to make a little lines. And I could create hash marks and whatnot with them, and I really like the way this comes out. It's a very simple tip that I find very useful, probably one of my most useful tools. 11. Handmade Tool #8 Altered Brushes: you could also alter your paintbrushes, and here I took a fairly good quality, not a fantastic. And it's just an actual paintbrush, not an artist brush. But I wanted to have a brush when I make my big paintings, my large scale tapestries, I wanted to have a brush that would give me strokes and different effects that really focused on texture. I did it the same thing with a smaller brush, and you could do it with any size. And as you can see, when I pressed down, the bristles don't touch. So it's not gonna create a solid line. This one takes a little more time, but I feel it's worth it. And this is a peace that will last me and I can use this piece for years. So what I do is I take the brush that I want to use, and I just take a little bit of masking tape to help me in this process. And what I'll do is I'll just put the masking tape just around the bottom of the bristles. If it's a large brush, if it's a small brush like this, I don't bother, and then I just kind of place where I want to make my cuts. So if I want this, just just be too, Um, if I don't have two parts to this brush, say, here in here, I'll know that I have to make 1/3 piece in the center that I have to remove so that I'll have those two pieces. So what I'll do to make those two pieces and I just take another piece of cardboard as just a temporary tool toehold my piece so that I can divide up my brushes, My bristles. So then, as a good guide, I'll keep it like this. I'll take some more tape. You can use a clip as well, and I'll take that tape and I'll put it around that one piece on the side of my cardboard to get those bristles out of my way so that when I do the cutting of the centre bristles, I'm not taking any of those off, and I'll do the same thing on the other side. Put my cardboard back in, explain my bristles Now. The reason I don't take all the bristles from the base of the brush for the feral is because if I remove these bristles. There's a good chance that the rest will all come out. But if I cut them up here, it's still have that tension, that density over here, and then I just take it and I'm not gonna get a pretty cut, but that's OK. I just make a bunch of cuts and this is an artificial, um, brush. So it's kind of plastic cutting through, and I'll continue to cut it until I have all my pieces removed. If this comes off, I'll just put it back on again. I can even skip the cardboard and just use the tape. So now that I have my first cut made A, I vaguely remember where I wanted it. I use my cardboard as a divider and I'll go back to cutting my bristles and I'll continue this until I have all my bristles, cut fairly niece neatly. Then I'll remove the peace and the tape, and I'll see al gauge if this is the way I want it. So now I know that these when I press down, these bristles will kind of touch. So I still want to take a little more off each end, so I just set my brush in and cut the little pieces on either side. This is all trial and error until you find what works for you. The beauty of this is if I start painting and I realize it's not working, I can come back and make anymore alterations. So that's a lot better. So there I have my modified brush. 12. Handmade Tool #9 Foam Stamps: So lastly, we have our handmade stamps using foam sheets, and here I have an abundance of ones that I've created these air just very simple shapes that I can repeat as I see fit in my artwork. You can just cut out the shape and adhere it to your piece. Here I use plastic. You can also use cardboard. If you don't like the see through option or you don't have access to it. There's no need to spend money on plexi glass. You could take the shape and then actually etched into it with a ballpoint pen, and I will also produce impression when you use it. It's a very simple technique, and I'm sure you've seen it all over. But all I do is I simply cut out my shape that I want and I base it off of the piece. I have to put it on. If I'm making a really big piece, I don't have to worry, because I don't really even need to attach it to a plastic piece. So say this size like I don't necessarily need to attach it to a plastic piece, but let's say I wanted to take this shape and then just create different shapes within it. So here's the plexi glass, which I'm not going to use, but this is an example of the plexi glass. I have my little piece that I cut out here from my berry basket, and then I'm just gonna take my glue and I'll put my shapes on as I want, just like this. I believe this one goes in here, but the beauty of it is I don't have to follow any particular pattern. I can even alter it and create whatever image I want. So I'll do something like this. So I just take my glue, put it on the back of my piece, and I set it down. It will slide around until it's completely dry, so I'll just be a little cautious of that. Well, I'm creating my piece. You can put a heavy object on it while it's drying. But just keep in mind that if you do that, it may slide around even further. The surface is air, very slippery, so once I have it in a position I like, I usually just leave it there and let it dry overnight or so again, you have a little leeway here. I can go back in and modify it slightly as I see fit. Now, after it's dry. One of the things I do like to do is I just like to round the edges. Surely it's not necessary, but I know if I'm gonna poke myself and I will, I'll do it on something like this. 13. Prompt #3 & Thumbnail Sketches: So now we have our two handouts here. The downloads. We have the actual prompt, and we have the thumbnail sketches and the thumbnail sketches air Very valuable, because this is where you can plot out your design. You can still change your design after you make your sketch, but it's a great launching point, and it also might trigger some additional ideas. So here we have the background layer, where we just have to objects or two parts to the background of these to various color graze. Now they don't have to be solid. They can just be two patterns they can be to shapes anything you want that distinguishes one side from the next. So it's a very vague term when I say two sides to the background, and then you can either put a piece your top layer that combines the sides and unites them like we have here. You can do one that unites them but also brings the eye up to the top of the page, or one that carries through at a diagonal and runs off the page, and then you could do any variation of this. Besides, you can also make your background layer into multiple layers. It doesn't have to be a solid piece. So for that I might take my colors and knowing that I'm gonna use browns and beiges and pinks, white and black. Those are my main colors just because that's something I want to work with. And I also know that I'm using Collage one of my layers, So I'll treat this color as my collage papers. And so I'll put maybe my collage piece in a way, one side of the paper heavier than the other. And that will give me my background. So I'll have my collage pieces here and here. And this is just a rough sketch. There'll be some overlap. Might even put a little piece of my collage here to tie it in. Maybe a smaller piece, the other one, the background. I can either leave white, or it can actually work other colors into it, and so I might just take a neutral color and just have some organic shapes on the background. So just work that around, and so that might be my background piece. Then, for the next part of the prompt. The second part is to use one of the mark making tools or multiple mark making tools toe add a layer on top of it. So I'll take that and I'll use Maybe I'll use the pink here to really emphasize where my collage pieces are gonna be. And then I'll take the black to emphasize where my mark making tool is gonna be. And so I want something that will kind of work with this, maybe united somewhat, or maybe draw the eye. So there are a lot of options I can choose. I'm gonna put maybe a peace here when the mark making tools and then I want something that will carry through. So I have a bunch of layers here and maybe I'll have of lines this way on my piece and I can play around with it. It doesn't have to be this way. I could change the background color to be pink. I could use the collage paper differently. Let's see. That's how I use my thumbnail sketch. What I like to do in composition just for an idea is to divide the paper up into thirds and so you can divide it into thirds or nineths, so by thirds it's basically you just divide your piece into three fairly equal parts. And what you want to use this for is you want your I so your focal point to be drawn to one of these lines. You could also do your piece and thirds this way, and then you could alter the proportions as well. If you want to do it, nineths, you just have your piece and you have equal proportions this way. And the theory is that you want then your focal piece to be at one of these intersecting points or maybe a few of the intersecting points again, you could alter the proportions so you could have very, um, uneven pieces here like this. It's too many like this. And then again, I'd have my focal points on the intersection of those lines. So that's one way to handle it. Whatever way you choose, create some fun, Neil sketches, and then we'll move them and use them on our peace. So in the next chapter, we'll start our collage piece 14. Layer 1 - Background: So now to start my painting while referring to my thumbnail sketch that I made. I know that I have a background here of some variable colors. So I have my tools that I'm just gonna set aside for now that I know I'm gonna use on this piece the brush, multiple brushes that I made in the stamp and that will be our last layer. So I'll set that aside, gonna add a background with some acrylic paint before. But I'm gonna use these collage papers for the next step. So also set those aside. And now I want to work on my background here I have an eight by 10 Manila folder that I cut down. So I have my substrate size. I have a brush, and I also have my mark making tool, which was just my gift card that I cut up. So what I'm gonna do is just mix a little bit of the color from That's another reason I like this mark making tool here, this little gift card tool because I can use it to mix paint like a palette knife. And it's very easy. I could just pull the color so I'll take some of that color, and I'm just gonna add it to this background here. It gives me a nice light, thin layer. I could come back in, just pull a different color I want, and then would take just the tiniest bit of this pink. Because I really want this to be a neutral painting with Justin Emphasis of pink. So it just makes a little pink in here and just pull it through just to give a little bit more to the background again. I could take a little pink on the end of this tool and just add some different shapes here and there, very subtly can go back in. And then I'm gonna let this completely dry, and then we'll come back and add our collage layer. 15. Layer 2 - Collage: So now my first layer is dried. I put a little Matt medium right on my tray here, and I'm gonna use it as a adhesive to adhere My collage paper. The ferment medium runs into the pain. It's not a problem. It will dry, transparent. And so it won't really affect the color. So that's one of the reasons I like to use Matt Medium. I take my piece of paper here, and I'm just gonna tear it up. I could cut it as well, but I'm just gonna tear it into the shapes that I want to use, and then I'll just see where I want to put it. So I like to have the stripes, and now I can choose how I want the stripes to run. So it's a bigger piece here and see about having them run, maybe like this, and then put a smaller one here and now I'll take my other piece of paper and I want that to go on top. I want that to be a little bigger than this piece. Maybe a little narrower. This is how you play around with it into you get the shapes that you like and the way they work together like that. I like the way that looks. And now I need a little piece for over here, maybe for the background that that piece and I'll play around with how I like it. I like this little pink peeking through. But if I do cover it, I can always go back with more paint. So now we're just gonna take my pieces. Since I have them, I'll set one aside, and I'm gonna add some of that Matt Medium. And once again, I'm going to use our tool just to set the mat medium down on my paper, going right to the edge. Then I'll set it down and I'll burnish it with my hand. And again, I want to put that there so we'll move my piece up a little. I want to be careful not to scrape this damp piece of paper here that is damp from the mat medium. I don't want it to tear, so I'm gonna apply my adhesive over here off the page, and then I can take a paper towel or just my fingers and clean up any Matt medium that remains again making sure it gets right to the edge of this piece here that I'm just Judah gently burnish it, and any areas that didn't get covered with a tease of I'll go back and make sure there it here down. Then I'll do the same thing over here with this piece. I did get a little pigment pink pigment on the, um, Matt medium, but it ties in with my painting, so I'm okay with that. And now I figure out where I want this piece to go. Just like that. So I'll burnish this again very carefully. Not I don't want to rip my painting or my collage pieces here. I know they're in a fragile state because they're still wet. We'll let this dry and then we'll come back and add additional layers. See if we want to add more to this layer, and then we'll use our mark making tools toe at our top layer. The second part of our prompt 16. Layer 3 - Paint Layer: So now my collages dry did hear down. So now I can decide if I want to leave this layer as it is or put more work into it. I'm gonna put a little more work into I'm gonna take my paintbrush this time and I'm just gonna create a little more white Want some white shapes just to fill in some of this area? They don't have to be perfect shapes, but I'm looking for just something to add a little lightness to some of these areas. So with my brush, I'll just add some of that. I can even go on top of the collage paper if I want. So what, I've kind of worked out here without it being terribly intentional was I created these round shapes, and so I started here, and then I moved around, and then I decided I wanted to connect them, so I kind of made a ace. A swirling line here doesn't go as a line. There's a lot of blank space in between, but you can see when you start to look at it, how it forms. I'll let this dry and then we'll come back and work on our top layer, using our mark making tools 17. Layer 4 Mark Making: All right. So are layers air dry. I like the way this looks. I like the abundance of neutral colors that we have going on here. So now I want to add some of my mark making tools the top layer to unite the peace and add a lot of interest, a lot of depth to my piece. So I'm gonna start here and I'll start with my big stamp here. I like the rounded nous of it, and I just take some of this neutral color and I'm just gonna paint it lightly on my stamp here on all my little images my foam that I adhered to this I just take a little fan brush because I can control the amount of paint I add. And you can use acrylic or gua sh number. Just take a teeny bit of this pink and just kind of swirl it in just in a few spots again, I'm tryingto make sure that all our colors stay united. And then I'm gonna put this somewhere on the page here, and I don't want to put it right in the center. I think I'll put it off going off the page and because I have that transparent backing on this stamp, I can see exactly where it's gonna end up. So now I'm just gonna make sure I press down everywhere. I have the image there thinking about Inc up my stamp again again with the two colors, and I just want the edge of it to hang off the page here. I'm only gonna press that part in. So there we have. That's what it looks like. I like the way that comes together, and it weighs on both sides of that. So I'll set this aside and I want to use my tool here with my three paintbrushes. And I'm gonna take this with the pink and I'll load up my brush. It'll just practice over here and I can see him getting pigment right on that. Those bristles. And now I want to just bring this along my original drawing. I had it going and stopping between here and here, but I think I wanted to continue off the page just like we have here and here. So trying to think how I want to do this, I wanted to kind of fade in, So I think I'll turn my piece around to create this. Start off the page barely, and just bring my piece here and pull it up. Now it can go back in reloading my brush and continue this to make this a little a little more opaque and then I'll just pull those colors. Well, just clean off my brush for now, set it aside and I just want to fade these this pink out. So I'm just gonna take a dry brush and just brush thes colors here. It'll blur the edges, make it a little less pronounced again. I want to continue those lines that we made just like that. And then lastly, I think I'm gonna take one of the other tools that we had the straw broom here, and I want some white paint. So put that on my palette. This is just something you can do as the mood hits you. And I want to add just some texture. So I'm gonna pick up some of that paint and just set it down because a little bit of texture could drag it if I want, and I'll add a little texture up here too. And one more right over here. and over here intentionally getting it on my paper as well. I can see here. I want this to this spot to be a little larger and then over here. Okay, so there we have this piece you can continue on as much as you'd like. I think I'm gonna add one more layer or just a few accents. In that case, I'm going to use this tool. So I'm gonna add a little black to my palette, and then I'm gonna try and pick up the color on the end of this. What I like about this is these little dots that it makes gonna go off the page and just put in a little bit of black. I like that. It's all neutral, but I also want to add a little bit of speckle. And again, I'm going right off the page there. I like the way this piece looks this way. So there I've completed my peace. I added my background layers to make essentially one layer, even though it was multiple layers. It's the background. And then I used our mark making tools toe at a bunch of interest on top of it, and it unites the piece all in one 18. Class Wrap Up & Variations: So here we have our completed piece. We have all our layers and we accomplish the two prompts. We have the background layer and I say layer generously, which is actually multiple layers, three layers. So we have our background piece, and then we have our top peace with the mark making, and I believe when we painted it, we painted it this way. But when I set it down, I really like the way it looked this way. So there is some variation, and at any point you can reassess what you've done and redo it. And that's part of the beauty in the mark making. When we use the tools, the handmade tools for mark making, we actually let go of a little bit of control. We don't know exactly if the line is gonna produce a solid line or jagged line, and so that adds an element to our pieces. Now some people might not like that at all. They want to stick to their perfection, and they're perfect, pristine line, and that's totally understandable. But if you want to try, something may be out of your comfort zone or something. A little unusual. Handmade tools are the way to go. I want to show you some variations using the same two prompts and the top layer off mark making techniques used by the handmade tools. Now some of them are a little messier than others will say, but they're all very similar. So with this piece we created the background layer of stripes. And then we added two additional layers of shapes using our mark making tools. We use the small school and the larger reused cap, using just neutral colors for the mark making layer, it added. In level of interest to our peace, this piece is very linear, despite using all these circles. So that's a fun look. Another piece we have here. We divided our background essentially into two shapes, just like we talked about during the thumbnail sketch chapter. So we have one that's red and one that's a little more lighter color. So we have those background and then we added the layer of the mark, making on top. We have some spatter. We have some lines, and then we have some stamped image of just some organic shapes. In a very similar way to that last piece we have are two layers in the background. We have one side of solid blue and then these three colors and shapes on this side. On top of that, I stamp some of these squares and have them run off the page. And then when it was done, or at least when I that layer had dried, I wanted to go back and add some shapes to the top of the black squares to break it up and to unite that white. So that's another effect you can dio. And lastly, using that same thumbnail sketch, I created a second piece using collage and totally different colors. So I use oranges and yellows along with some paper and some shapes over here. After I stamped my image in all orange, I went back with a small brush and just added some black to tie it all together. And then I used that same technique toe. Add that layer right on top. I hope you enjoyed class, and I look forward to seeing your work. Thank you for joining me today. Please be sure to follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes and please consider leaving your review 19. Bonus Class: Inside My Mark Making Journal: Now, aside from using your mark making tools in your artwork, I'd like to keep a journal a mark making page, as you will and I either keep a book dedicated to mark making, or I'll add it to my art journal. This is my idea journal. So I just like to have it because sometimes I can peruse it and see shapes that inspire me or intrigued me or if I'm working on a painting and I'm at a point where I think it needs more, but I don't quite know what it needs. I can just thumb through these pages and see if a shape speaks to me regarding it. So what I did here is I just did my paint, my mark making tools in the paint just to create a record of them. And here I traced around them before I dip them in pain. Just so I knew which tool made which mark the rest of it. I kind of left just self explanatory. So I just dipped him and let it dry. I continue this and I really like the way it I started out with one stamping of my cork in this case and I just let it go down the page until it I didn't have any more to stamped into the same thing with all these. I dragged my pieces until it ran out of paint. Same thing here. I stamped until essentially, it's stamped clean. And then this is the one that intrigues me the most. Lately. Again, this can totally change based on your mood and your feelings at the time. But I love those brush strokes, and I just think I can use that. My work here. I have various ones more stamping just like this in here. Another thing to consider. If you don't want to have a, put it in a book or if you're in the mood to paint it all and you don't want to have to stop to let it dry between your turning pages, it's just to put it on some card stock sheets. The marks are kind of intriguing on their own. Here's another one that I'm drawn to as of late and again. I think it's because it has those brush strokes. I just find it so interesting. Is it rain or what is going on here and makes me consider and get some ideas and inspiration. And then this one is mostly stamps and various things, and I just love The contrast of the black and white in the messiness is a little out of my comfort zones, but it's a fun project to work on. You might want to try your hand at doing one of these as well.