Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to use black and white with one colour. By coincidence, my Art Snacks box had just arrived and it contained a black fineline pen and a green alcohol marker. I, therefore, decided I could combine the challenges while giving myself the additional challenge of working on a narrow piece of paper. A childhood spent watching classic monster movies means I have a Pavlovian response to black and green. The combination always makes me think of Frankenstein’s Monster. I, therefore, set about drawing the Karloff version of the Creature in the narrow space of the paper. I was very happy with the ink illustration but then worried I would wreck it when adding the green. I have never been much good at “colouring in” plus I have never used an alcohol based marker before. I rubbed some of the marker on a piece of wax paper so that I could dilute it with water and brush it on as a light wash first. That then gave me the confidence to go in directly with the marker to create darker green areas. I am pretty pleased with how the illustration turned out. I had envisaged using it as a tip-in for my art journal but two of my kids want it as a bookmark so I guess that’s its destiny.
Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was Halloween. I had received my October Art Snacks box but had not attempted the challenge of using all of the items to create art. Since one of the things in my box was a jar of orange ink, it seemed like the subject of Halloween might be a good way to kill two art birds with one stone. I was initially going to go much darker and creepier with my Halloween art work but – perhaps since I was drawing while watching ‘Frankenweenie’ with my kids – my creative mojo led me to draw a band of cute monsters trick or treating. This was my first time using brush pens. It took a while to get the hang of how to hold them to create different strokes and widths but it was fun trying something new, which is the point of receiving a box of art goodies each month.
Continuing to fill up my Inktober sketchbook, I decided that the next creature that had to feature was Frankenstein’s Monster. In addition to Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ being one of my favourite novels – and one I taught several times – James Whale’s ‘Frankenstein’ is my favourite of the Universal monster movies. I am, therefore, somewhat surprised at myself that the poor old Monster did not appear earlier in my series of Inktober drawings, especially since I did draw his Bride. My illustration is definitely influenced by Boris Karloff’s incarnation of the Monster. I am pretty pleased with how this turned out.
The great thing about art journaling is that it allows me to experiment with new things on a small, manageable scale. I can mess around with new media, try a new approach, play with a new style and in doing so discover what things I enjoy, what things I am good at, what things are really not me and what things might have some potential for me. The thing I appreciate about prompts, therefore, is that they give me the shove I need to do something way out of my comfort zone or out of my field of knowledge and experience.
This week’s prompts for the Documented Life Project were just such a shove. The phrase was “All that I’m after is life full of laughter” and the art challenge was stitching. Stitching. Ugh. As I have shared before, I am not a textile artist. I can neither knit, sew or crochet. I have no aptitude for it and I consequently don’t enjoy it. I actually avoid sewing as much as possible. I replace buttons, take up hems, do minor clothing repairs but the whole time I am doing so I am aggravated which is not the mood I want to be in when I am doing something creative.
I could have avoided using textiles at all in my response to the DLP prompt but I decided to see what happened when I got out of my comfort zone this particular time because in the small scale of an art journal my potential frustration levels could be minimised. I could tell myself, “This will all be over soon”. I knew I did not want to make sewing a big deal on my page, however, and to just use it as an element. I mulled over the phrase prompt for a while but nothing came to me. I chose to just ponder the stitching element and what came to my mind’s eye was Frankenstein’s Monster – the Karloff version – all stitched together. ‘Frankenstein’ is one of my favourite novels and the 1931 film is one of my favourite movies of all time – and in fact both have featured in a previous art journal page – so I decided to go with that thought and see what came of it.
Perhaps because I have been working on my Crazy Critters series of 100 artworks, the idea morphed in my mind into a bunny version of Frankenstein’s Monster. I painted the bunny in watercolour on watercolour paper and then used some red thread from my sewing kit to stitch patterns into his body. I did not plan the position of the stitches so I just went with the flow, trying to maintain some sort of balance. I then adhered the watercolour paper into my art journal using some decorative tape. I think it turned out to be a pretty fun page.