Saturday, September 5, 2015

A New How-To and A Greeting Card Assortment

My friend Mary Ann Russo brought to my attention a video I had seen awhile ago, a presentation by one of my all-time favorite artists, Karlyn Holman.

Mary Ann's creative mind bloomed with the idea of applying the same approach to stencil-using.

I went to work immediately after hearing this idea from Mary Ann.  I pulled out a handful of blank 5"X7" greeting cards and a few of my botanical stencils.  Starting with my 6"X6" Gingko --


-- I began tracing along the openings of this stencil (heavily stained from earlier projects) with an Elegant Writer Calligraphy Pen (fine tip; black), as shown below--
My next step was to lift off the stencil --

(Notice that I used only part of the stencil, since my greeting card blank has a cover 5"X7".)

Then I added just a little water with a mister --
Click on the above image to enlarge it.
If you've watched the video above (by clicking on Karlyn's name) you know that Karlyn uses her pointed paintbrush to toss out random droplets of water across the surface she's prepared with Elegant Writer Calligraphy Pen (fine tip; black).  Either method works -- just apply the water sparingly. 
Once I'd added water, I came in with a point-tip brush to draw color-filled water drops outward from each of the traced leaves and stems.  Drawing the water-drops outward along all edges created a watercolor-like background.  Clicking on the image below to enlarge it, you can see this process taking place.  It happens very fast.  
Here's the finished card cover --

For me, this is as far as I need to go for results that please me.  But as Karlyn's video shows, this can be just the beginning.  Colors can be added using a variety of other media.
The greeting card blank that I used in the project above is cut from 140-lb. watercolor paper, but I've used the same technique and pen on other surfaces, too, with good results.
This technique will work with any kind of ink that's water-soluble.  As Karlyn mentions in her video, there are a lot of pens -- and markers -- on the market; some contain water-soluble inks while others do not.
Above:  a greeting card created with a Marvy LePlume marker/pen and my 6"X6" stencil Silhouette of a Wildflower Bouquet, shown below:
Another water-soluble marker/pen is Marvy LePlume, but take to heart what Karlyn says in her video about these water-soluable tools:  Some of them will re-hydrate after drying, while others (like Elegant Writer Calligraphy pen) will not.
So if you plan to continue adding wet media (such as watercolor or acrylic paint) after having started with this technique, make sure test your marker/pen in advance. 
If you have used the Elegant Writer Calligraphy pen or any other of its kind, your original image will stay intact.  
If you have used Marvy LePlume or any other pen of its kind, the original image will blur, run, or otherwise change as its dried ink is exposed to new liquid of any kind.
The best way to tell which kind of pen/marker you have, again, is to give it an advance test.  Some of these pen/markers will also have this information posted online in their ad descriptions. 
For me this potential continual water-solubility is not an issue, since I don't plan to add any wet media after using the marker/pen.  But I could add Pan Pastels, oil pastels, or any other dry media to add more color if desired. 

Three more greeting cards await showing today; the first one appeared in an earlier stage, before the foreground element had been added.  The background had been created with the same Gingko stencil shown earlier in this post.   The foreground element was created with a cut-out from a print I'd made using another 6"X6" stencil of mine, Cats.  

Another two greeting cards were made with my 6"X6" stencil Quilted Flower Garden --

The same stencil -- but two totally different looks!

Last of all, here is an invitation-sized greeting card created with the Elegant Writer Calligraphy pen; this one was an experiment.  I followed the directions outlined above.  Then I wanted to see what would happen if I swiped a soft cloth over the surface.  The result has an artsy look that I like ...

This one above was made on a slick cardstock surface (not watercolor paper) with my 4"X4" Fern Fronds Silhouette Mini Stencil.

What fun it is to flip a stencil upside down or backwards to use it!  It's almost like getting two designs for the price of one.


  1. How beautiful. Will have to give it a go myself. x

    1. Thanks! It's an easy, fast technique with results that I like.

  2. Just retread this. I love your artwork