Monday, January 30, 2012

Imperfection Zentangle Journal Page

This challenge was posted over at Zentangles and Stuff and I thought it looked like fun. It was very simple to do, yet very much a challenge for me. The challenge was to free-hand draw a tic-tac-toe board in a journal page. Then, fill in 4 of the squares with writings and the rest of the squares with tangles. The challenging part for me was to journal about how imperfection has enhanced my life or art. I don't like imperfection, in my life or in my art. This is something I struggle with every day. When I work on my art I am usually very tense because I am always worried about making a mistake. The great thing about doing Zentangles is that you can relax and not worry so much about mistakes. When I did the writing sections I wrote more about not liking imperfections and less about how they have enhanced my life or art. I still really enjoyed doing this page and like the idea of using the grid for my page.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Op Art Hands That POP!

I found this lesson while doing a Google image search for hands and thought I would try doing it with my current sixth grade art students. I think what attracted me most to the lesson is how simple it is to do. I mean what can be easier than tracing your hand? It also looks really cool when it is finished!

Step 1: Trace your hand lightly using a pencil. Do this step as lightly as possible because your original outline of your hand should not show when finished.

 Step 2: Using a thin black Sharpie marker, start adding your lines. Start at the bottom of the page where your arm is and draw a curved line on the arm and then straight lines for the background. I had my students start by using a pencil for the first four or five lines until they got the hang of it, then using the marker to add the rest.


  • Make sure your curved lines line up with the straight line in the background.
  • Do not trace your outline with the black marker.
  • Place your lines close together. If there is too much space between your lines it will not look like the hand is popping off the page.

 Step 3: Continue adding lines and moving up the paper towards the top of the page. When doing the fingers I found it was easier to curve your lines in the opposite direction instead of trying to add straight lines there.

 Step 4: The most difficult part of this project is ending the fingers. I found it somewhat difficult to find a way to get back to straight lines at the top once you get past the finger tips. Try to flatten out your line as much as possible so it no longer matches the curve of the fingers.

Step 5: Choose three colors, using a color scheme, and color between your black lines using colored pencils. I used a monochromatic color scheme for my example. I also gradated my colors to help the hand pop off the page. I finished by using a kneaded eraser to lift some of the color off the ridges of the fingers, hand, and arm.

I did this lesson with my sixth grade students but I think it could be done with younger students as well. Once I knew what mistakes were common, I could explain the lesson to them a little bit better and avoid those mistakes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Getting Started with ATCs (Artist Trading Cards)

This is going to be a very basic tutorial in starting to make and trade Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). I have been involved in this for of art for many years and have found it to be highly addictive!

History of Artist Trading Cards:

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are miniature works of art about the same size as a baseball or Pokemon card (2.5 x 3.5 inches). ATCs originated in 1997 by the Swiss artist M. Vanci Stirnemann. ATCs are part of the mail art movement.

There are very few rules pertaining to making and trading ATCs. However, the ones that do exist MUST be followed. They are:
  • size = 2.5x3.5 inches
  • ATCs are traded not sold
  • Signed and dated on the back
  • Neatness counts

Step 1:
The first thing you need to get started making ATCs are blank cards. Regular white card stock makes excellent blank cards. Cards should be cut exactly 2.5 x 3.5 inches and as straight as possible. I use a cutting board to make my cards. If you do not have access to card stock or other similar paper you could use empty food boxes (cereal, mac & cheese, microwave popcorn, etc).
I bought my cardstock at OfficeMax.
*** If you use a standard weight paper make sure you mount it to a heavier paper. ATCs should never be as thin as regular weight paper.

Step 2:
The next thing you need to do is decide what type of card you want to make (drawing, painting, collage, etc) and what you want to put on the card (your subject matter). This is entirely up to you, unless you are doing a themed swap with someone. I you are using blanks cut from food boxes you will most likely need to cover it with a piece of white or color paper first.

Step 3:
The previous step shows the beginning stage of the card. I still need to add color and mount it to stiffer paper.
Here is what my card looks like when finished. You can't tell here, but I have mounted it to a stiffer background to make it more durable. To do this I used a glue stick and then stuck the card under a heavy stack of books until the glue dried.

Step 4:
To finish your card the final step is to sign and date the back of the card. You can also include a title for your miniature work of art and contact information for future trades. This can be done as simply as writing the information on the back of the card or you can get fancy and print out stickers or labels to stick on the back of your card.

Step 5:
When your card is finished and ready to trade you will want to store it in a safe place. For me, this means putting it into a clear plastic sleeve and then storing it in a metal tin until it is ready to be shipped to a new owner. I buy my sleeves at Target or Toys R Us. They are cheap (around $3 for 200) and can be found by the trading cards. I don't remember where I bought the tin, but I believe it is called a tea tin.

The last thing to do is find someone who is interested in trading one of their cards for your card. A great place to start is the ATCforall site. Post your card in the gallery and wait for someone to take interest in it. You can also contact me. I would be more than happy to be your first trade!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#61 Graffiti Challenge

Another one for a student. This one is done with markers and colored pencils.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Graffiti Challenge #60

Another one done for one of my students. Prismacolor and Touch markers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Graffiti Challenge #59

Another drawing for one of my students. Did this one over winter break so I did a Grinch theme. Still working towards my goal of 200 drawings. My students are always very excited to receive their drawings. I do not tell them when I draw their names... I just do the drawing and give it to them the next time they come to art class. Again, Prismacolor and Touch markers.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

#58 - Graffiti challenge

Another drawing done for one of my students. I try something different with each drawing. I love this challenge because it pushes me to try new things and experiment with colors and designs. It has also given me the opportunity to work with markers, something I had never done prior to this challenge.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

#57 - Graffiti Challenge

Another drawing done for one of my kiddos at school. #57, my goal is to do 200 graffiti type drawings by the end of this year. Again done with Prismacolor and Touch markers.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Zentangle Give Away

The week #52 Zentangle challenge over at I am the diva is to give a zentangle to someone. I chose to pass this tile along to a co-worker who recently asked me what Zentangles were. The timing was perfect!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

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