Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Printing & Texture Tools

Have you ever looked at a work of art and asked "How in the world did they make this?!!" (Okay- as an artist, who hasn't uttered those words before? Ha!!)

Most mixed-media artists like to use a combination of mark-making tools to build up dimension and layers of visual interest in their work. As a result, a story emerges and further piques your curiosity.

Today, I will share many of the tools I use for creating expressive marks and textures. I list a few places where you can find items to help you tell your story. Learn how to build an eclectic repertoire of found items you can be proud of. This will help your work be more authentic.

I create artwork traditionally AND digitally (most of the time, they're combined techniques), so my archive of sketches, found objects and photographs are always on hand to help tell the story of a particular illustration. (The items I will share with you today, have been used in one or more of my mixed-media creations.)
 For the month of July, I will be celebrating with Artist Traci Bautista!! She's having a virtual book party for her newly released book, Printmaking Unleashed, and has invited other artists to play along.

I have many deadlines hanging over my head BUT I will do my very best to keep up with this! I hope you can play along, too ^_^!

For Day 1 creative prompt, we are to "look with new eyes" for items with textures that will make interesting prints. 

Some places to look: 
* in your garage/basement/attic
* in the kitchen drawers
* recycled items
* in NATURE!
* on your desk 
* in a child's play room

Join the party! Post a photo a day on any of your social media platforms...Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr or your blog and use this hashtag so that your photos are easier to find: #printmakingunleashed 
 ((you can add more if you want, but be sure to have this in your photo upload))

for more info or an explanation of each prompt, click here

Here are some photos I took for Day 1: Found Printing Tool
things found in nature / nature inspired items: walnut, dried palm leaf, peacock feather, decorative feather on my naturally-weathered, fiber crafting table
soft & flexible items: button template from inside a remote control, a notched spreader, organza fabric, doily, package wire mesh on foamboard, hand-carved cereal box number stencils, hand-carved mylar stencil, plastic doily-looking-thingy (not sure what the proper name is) and screen cut-out

I love organic shapes! from left to right: tape dispenser (I use the edge where the tape gets cut off), plastic fork + plastic, bottoms of pastry containers (honeycomb & circle patterns), metal piece from truck footstep, spool of thread, bra tie back, cork, found metal pieces, tambourine jingles, bottle cap, large stucco spreader

continued from above photo...from left to right: my Grand Mama V's vintage shoe clip, a remote control (for stamping), tracing wheel, calligraphy nib + holder (both ends are great for bold, stylized writing/mark-making), zebra print cut-out bracelet, ceramic tile with splash pattern, embroidery floss, mardi-gras beads.

 Oh yes, there's more! Take a look at what I found in my hair supply stash...
items found in my hair supply stash: 3 different sets of rollers, quilted facial pads, broken wide-toothed comb and hair clip

paper ephemera stash: Intricate Paper Stencils (from my tutorial, here), bubble wrap, vintage sewing pattern, baby wipe, aluminum foil, old paintbrush with dried industrial glue on the bristles 

LOL! Yes, I've printed with my rainboot before! I think the chevron pattern is cool. I learned this technique in my undergraduate days while I was taking a ceramics class. Thanks Mr. Driver :)!

Another quick place to look: right outside my front door! Here are two different finishes on the walls of a neighboring apartment complex. I use textures like these in my digital work.

don't forget to look DOWN...the look of this concrete splash block is rugged but the diamond pattern is great for visual textures in creating digital backgrounds.

I have used all of these "tools" to create some very unique and intuitive marks. I really appreciate how (most of) everything I am looking for can be found right where I am!

Sometimes, when you are unable to find the words to express yourself in your art, you can rely on your intuition to help guide you into making expressive marks with your tools.

Don't push back by second-guessing yourself! Learn to listen to your inner self- explore what resonates within you. Allow yourself to be curious and take a closer look...

As I like to say, "Stop waiting for your muse to come. Keep working and let your muse catch up with YOU!"

Thank you for visiting! I hope you'll come back tomorrow for Day 2: Monoprint.
What kinds of "tools" do you like to use in your art-making? If you're joining this challenge, leave a link to your photo in the comment box!


  1. I'm so glad you left this link for the ICADers to see what you've done. Printing with found objects can be really addictive. I keep seeing things as printing tools everywhere I look. Some also make wonderful tooling designs too.

    1. You're very welcome, Martha! I'm really glad I could be of help and that others are enjoying my work. I agree- found objects seem to be more exciting to use- possibly because of the cool stories behind finding them! Thank you for your lovely comment and for visiting me here :)

  2. I love working with found objects, it is such fun when you spy something and can see that it would give you an interesting print! :-))) Thank you for sharing some of your found treasurers!!!


The best conversation happens in the comments section!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...