This is a mixed-media-junkie’s dream project! Junk mail combined with gesso, watercolor, a little swirly technique here and some packing tape there creates beautiful and complicated textures that you can use as backgrounds for any mixed media projects you currently have going.
In this class we’ll use our pages to create an irregularly shaped book. Then we’ll DRAW! You’ll begin a drawing on one spread with the goal of having each image connect to and work with the images from other spreads. The drawing exercises throughout the week will build up to you being able to see more creatively and embrace the “puzzle” nature of this beautiful artist’s book.
Take this class if you love textures, layers, and everything mixed media. This one is just FUN!
Lesson 1: One-Liners & Gesso on Junk Mail
Lesson 2: Watercolors & Rub ‘n Buff
Lesson 3: Flow Exercise & Building Your Book
Lesson 4: Drawing! & More Gesso
Lesson 5: Final Details
Lesson 6: Bonus! Postcard Book
Some of the items listed have links, simply so that you can know what I’m talking about. But please feel free to substitute anything on the list with similar items you might already have on hand — in general I am not brand specific and believe in the “use what you have” school of thought.
- Ultra Fine Point Sharpie black marker (or similar)
- Fine Point Sharpie black marker (or similar)
- Vine charcoal, soft
- A stack of 8.5″ x 11″ card stock office paper (or similar)
- Small set of watercolors (cake or tube is fine, even a kid’s set is fine)
- A 1/2″ flat or filbert watercolor brush, or a larger round brush. (You just want a brush that is not too small because you will be laying down layers of watercolor on 8″x10″ or larger pieces of junk mail.)
- White gesso (any kind, but I like Golden)
- Piece of white cotten, such as a flour sack towel. Paper towels will work in a pinch.
- Some clear packing tape
- Some clear scotch tape
- A hole punch
- Twine, string or ribbon to bind your book together (you won’t need much, about 2 feet)
- 10-20 pieces of junk mail. I like a well-balanced selection of security envelopes (with patterns inside); colorful, heavier-bodied junk mail such as postcards or brochures (glossy is okay); and colored or manilla envelopes (including bubble-wrapped-lined ones). Extremely flimsy junk mail such as grocery store coupons, etc. do not work as well for this project. I will go over this more fully in the video on the “test” day, but for now just start collecting anything you think might work.
- Optional: spray fixative
Carla Sonheim is a painter, illustrator, and creativity workshop instructor known for her fun and innovative projects and techniques designed to help adult students recover a more spontaneous, playful approach to creating.
Carla is the author of three instructional art books, including Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun; Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals: A Mixed-Media Workshop and The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone. In 2012 she co-authored Creative Photography Lab with her husband, Steve Sonheim. They live in Seattle, WA.