Friday, January 27, 2017

Stencils and Collage in Art Journaling by Kass Hall

People who follow my work know I am a big fan of stencils.
 Some might even call it addiction…I’d call it a healthy appreciation.

Whatever you call it, there are lots of fantastic and inventive ways to use stencils,
and one of my favourites is to combine great stencils with collage.
I cover this and other uses in my book, Amplified Art (North Light, 2016).

The past year or so I have really battled with my art making – in fact I barely even looked at my art supplies in 2016. When I did, it was like they were foreign to me – I didn’t know what to do with them and there was no inspiration forthcoming. I tried magazines and books…and nothing happened.

Then, recently, I felt drawn to just play. Even if that meant simply putting colour on the page so they were no longer white. I did just that, and this is what happened…

1. I found a journal I hand made a while ago; I had collaged each page (making them thicker and stronger) and then laid a light coat of gesso over the collage, so it could peak through.
Using gesso gave the surface some tooth for further work. I put some colour down on several pages.
2. For this art journal page, I chose a light orange-ish yellow acrylic paint and covered the page.
This colour was a little bit opaque so I pulled back some using a baby wipe,
which meant the collage was still faintly visible.
3. While the page completely dried, I pulled out lots of collage ephemera.
I have collected a lot of this from around the world.
I decided to find bits of pieces which were predominantly red,
to contrast yet compliment the yellow-ish background.
4. Take out your favourite stencils. I have a tendency to love geometric shapes,
so I chose Daniella Woolf's Geomaze and Mary Nasser's Geometric Sky from StencilGirl Products.

Take a scrap piece of paper and lay your stencil face down on it.
Draw in the shapes you want and number them.
This will make it a lot easier later when placing your various pieces of collage paper in the right place.
5. Mark out the stencil shapes you want on the back of your collage papers
and lightly write the number on the back matching the number on your map.
Cut your pieces out and place them on the map so you can see which parts you have done.
6. By now your paint should be nice and dry so, using a pencil,
mark out on your page the stencil shapes you’ve chosen.
Stick down your pieces of collage accordingly.
7. Start adding details to your page – I have taught many classes and have a whole section in Amplified Art dedicated to detail work on page – it truly is what makes your art journal pages pop!
On my page I have used acrylic markers, Pitt Pen, gel pens and glitter pens.

I also wrote about my struggles with making art and balancing it with my law studies.
Not all pages require written journaling – it’s a personal choice whether you write anything and,
if you do so, how much.
8. When the page is completely dry (give it 24 hours) you may wish to spray some fixative on it to stop it marking the opposite page in your journal or sticking. This is an entirely personal choice and it will depend somewhat on the supplies you use.

Kass Hall is a mixed media artist and author from Melbourne, Australia.She is the author of three books, “Zentangle Untangled”, “The Zentangle Untangled Workbook” and “Amplified Art.” She is currently completing her law degree and lives with her supportive husband Michael and their spoiled pug, Elvis. You can find her at where there are links to all her social media pages.


  1. Very creative. Thanks for the tip on numbering squares!

  2. What a spectacular way to use stencils, love it - so creative. I like geometrics myself so this is something I'm going to try.

  3. Wow, I agree with Kathy and Robin - what an inspiring creation and clever use of stencils. TFS! janisgraham at yahoo dot come

  4. This is the most exciting thing I have seen on SG talk in a long while. Love your work, just ordered one of your DVDs. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I have two questions, did you fold the 1000 cranes? Did you improve your impatience?


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