Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Big ATC Tutorial - part three - mixed media collage

Well, here we are, halfway through our five part ATC Tutorial. I'm hoping you are enjoying it so far and that it's giving you some ideas of your own. Today we will do a series of four atc's in a more mixed media style. We will again be using the background that we made in part one. Let's go!

The Big ATC Tutorial - part three - mixed media collage

Materials used:
  • some atc-backgrounds that were made in part one of this tutorial series
  • an old book (any old book with images you find interesting that you don't mind tearing up, yes this tutorial is not for the faint of heart)
  • scissors
  • a circle template (anything with which you can draw some different size small circles will do)
  • acrylic paint
  • spray paint (I used a textile spray paint, but that's just because that's the only one I have)
  • acrylic gel medium 
  • a brush
  • regular markers or felt tip pens (I used tombow dual brush markers)
  • glaze pens (Sakura, I don't know of any other brands, but I suppose this would work with other types of gel pens too, they just would not give the shiny and 3D effect)
  • some small shiny metal trinkets in a shape you prefer (I used little flowers)
  • some paper towel

Before I did anything to my atc backgrounds I got out this book, because I knew I wanted to use it. It's an old botanical book which is full of drawn illustrations of plants and flowers. I got it at a flea market for next to nothing and I knew it would come in handy for collage and mixed media (and it does). In the bottom right corner you see the words 'Botanical Bliss). Those came to me while making the cards and I thought it would be a good title for the atc's that I was making in this tutorial series, so I wrote it down before I forgot. The curse of a mind full of ideas is that you are destined to forget half of them and only execute about ten percent of those that are left. ;-)

I used a circle template to outline some images in the book  that I wanted to cut out and use on my atc's. Aren't those illustrations gorgeous?

I cut out several images that way in different size circles and I also cut out some text. The text describes the family of plants these particular flowers belong to. I knew I wanted to use these elements for collage, but I had no idea yet how.

Now it was time to get to work on the atc's themselves. I noticed that the color of the paper of the book didn't really match my background so I decided to do a colorwash on them with some watered down acrylic paint. Just mix paint with water and brush on.

I still wasn't happy about the effect and decided to ad some paint spray. The spray I used is intended for textiles, it's some generic brand from a company I order stuff from sometimes, so I can't really give you a brand name. I sprayed some yellow and orange and then dabbed it with a paper towel.

I loved the effect, but what I didn't love is the fact that this textile spray is awfully sticky after use (a reason I don't recommend it on paper, even though the colors are lovely and bright). However, this was easily solved by brushing a layer of gel medium on top of  the cards. Still, if you have an acrylic spray paint or something else that is waterproof I would sooner use that. You could also use drops of ink.

Here's a close up of how the background now looked. I liked it a lot better, but unfortunately it still did not match with the color of the book paper. Somehow I just couldn't get it to work. The paper was just too... vintage. ;-)

I figured if I couldn't get the background to work out I should alter the book paper. So I got out my Tombow markers and coloured the cut out items in bright colours! That's how easy a solution sometimes can be. After that it all fit perfectly.

I made a simple collage on the cards with three circles and one line of text. I applied the pieces with gel medium and went over them as well to seal them in. For this reason alone it was good that the paper of the book was so absorbent, otherwise the markers would have smeared when they got wet as they are water soluble.

I made four different, yet similar arrangements in different colour variations. I liked where this was going now.

Since I always have an incredible need to outline things I had to do it with these cards too. Out came the old black glaze pen again (what did I ever do without it?) and my signature dashed lines. ;-)

I still found the card a bit too empty so I added dots in a glaze pen in a different color. This also gave a bit more texture to the surface. I used a different color on each of the cards for a bit more variation.

Here's how the cards looked after that. I still wasn't completely convinced. It just wasn't enough.

When in doubt, ad a little sparkle. So I got one of my boxes of shinies and sparklies and decided to ad some to the cards to make them a little more interesting.

I applied some tiny metal flowers in bright colors with some gel medium. Please keep in mind that the gel medium is not dry yet in this picture, so it still looks white. When it's dry you will now longer notice it.

And there you have them. Four new cards to ad to the the four I showed you yesterday. Eight cards in total. We are on a roll!

Can you see how different these cards are from the ones from yesterday and yet how they still are according to the same theme of flowers? I hope you like them and that they gave you some inspiration for some mixed media atc's of your own.

Tomorrow we will focus on the last set of cards that are again very different. Hope to see you then!

Until then I wish you a wonderful and artsy day!


  1. Wow Caatje...they're really beautiful and it IS amazing how different the same background changed with different applications.

    1. Thank you Annie, glad you like them.

  2. Hoi Caatje, wat een prachtige tutorial heb je gemaakt! Ik geniet er enorm van, het is zo toegankelijk! Ik ben vanmorgen bezig geweest met de achtergrond en met de eerste serie ACT's, die met de bloemen. Helaas heb ik geen paintmarkers, dus daar bleef ik haken (nou ja het was ook vrijwel tijd om te stoppen...)
    Ik vind het geweldig dat je zoveel energie steekt in deze tutorials voor ons / mij. Super bedankt! Ik kan niet wachten om die van morgen en vrijdag te zien...
    Groet, Wanda

    1. Dank je wel Wanda. Als je geen paintmarkers hebt zou je ook gelpennen kunnen proberen of gewoon acryl met een dun kwastje aanbrengen. Succes!

  3. Oh my goodness, I am such a collage girl! These cards are beautiful. I really like the illustrations in your flower book, and you used them in such a great way on these cards. Love!

  4. Wat een verschil met de eerste serie, maar ook heel mooi! Is gel medium een soort lijm? Jouw werkwijze doet me namelijk denken aan de fabric paper die ik pas nog maakte, daarvoor gebruikte ik behangplaksel tussen de lagen.

    1. Beetje late reactie, dus ik hoop dat je het nog meekrijgt. Gel medium is een middel om te mengen met acrylverf. Het is dus een soort van acrylmedium. Gel wil zeggen dat het wat dikker en lobbiger is dan gewone acrylmedium (die vloeibaar is). Je hebt ook nog dikkere pasta's om acrylverf bijna sculptuurachtig te kunnen bewerken. Hoe dan ook, het is gemaakt om acryl te verdunnen of een andere substantie te geven, maar...tegelijk werkt het ook perfect als lijm en zelfs een soort vernis. Je kunt het in verschillende afwerkingen krijgen, mat of zijdeglans of glans (afhankelijk van het merk). Wel een waarschuwing: als je het als bovenste laag in een journal gebruikt gaan de pagina's aan elkaar plakken, dus gebruik het met beleid. Succes.

  5. Horrible to cut up vintage books ! Why not make photocopies instead ? Imagine the thousands of people destroying old books that are limited in number ?! Ridiculous and destructive.

    1. This book was not rare or valuable. I paid about two euro's for it at a flea market (thats like three dollars I think). The reason I don't do photocopies is because the authentic material is so much more beautiful to use. I don't think books are sacred objects by the way that need to be revered (and I love to read). If it was a one of a kind ancient antique thing it would be different. There are wonderful artists out there putting good old but rather worthless books to use that would otherwise just be destroyed. It's recycling, not destruction. A book is paper with print on it. Get over yourself.


I appreciate each and every comment. They make me really happy. I don't like spammers though and that's why the word verification is turned on. I know it's a pain, but I hope you understand.

I try to respond to all comments by directly replying in the comment section, but please understand that sometimes this may take some time. Know that I read them all and that they make my day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...