Friday, August 19, 2022

Trena Brannon: Ideas for Journal Pages and Bookmarks

Hello Beautiful People! Today, I'm sharing a couple of ideas for how to use stencils to bring some colorful joy to yourself and to others. 

IDEA 1: Starting with colorful joy for you, an idea for your art journal. I chose fashion for the focal point in the example below, you can choose a focal point that brings you joy. 

In my 9x12 Canson XL watercolor journal, I selected my word stencil I Get to Choose for my background. I believe the words are empowering.  I used a dry dauber sponge so the words would be crisp and dabbed acrylic paint in a diagonal pattern using my favorite color - the rainbow. :) Of course, you use your favorite color(s).  Some of the words were smeared because I had a little too much paint, which is ok. It's the background.

After the paint dried, I used the same dauber sponge and a few of the same colors to create vertical streaks.  To warm up the page, I used a larger sponge to apply a thin coat of Golden Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold - I  learned that from Mary Beth!

After the layer dried, I painted my model form and let her dry.  

Next, it was time to dress her! I painted her dress using magenta and bright orange, trying not to blend too much - I dig the painterly look.  I used acrylic paint, pencils, gouache, and pens to draw her features, her hair, and make-up.  One of the reasons I really like using acrylic paint is that you can easily fix any boo-boos. I had to redo her make-up and hair a few times, and also her chin. LOL! In the end, I dig how she turned out.  That’s the most important thing - when you look through your journal, you dig the art!

For the design in the lower part of her dress, I used the symbol for Democracy, Unity in Diversity from West African Symbols ATC Mixup 4, one of the stencils in a collection of symbol stencils that Wendy Featherston and I collaborated on. I painted a metallic watercolor through the stencil using a small paint brush and a small amount of water so that the color would not run under the stencil. 

Below is a photo of the supplies I used. 

IDEA 2: Make someone smile with a customized bookmark. I like to give books as gifts - art books, self-powering, leadership, romance - all the books!! Whatever the recipient is into.  Along with the book, I give a customized bookmark.  

For this bookmark, I used Positively Positive and the August StencilClub set.  I bought this blank bookmark and sleeve pack of 5 years ago when Sunday International was a USA company. The cardstock included has a glossy coating.  I found bookmark sleeves at and I also found a variety on amazon USA.  Read closely to make sure you get the quantity you want, they can come in large quantities. You can use the paper of your choice and cut it to fit the sleeve.  

To make this bookmark I worked in layers, starting with rubbing Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold using a paper towel. Because the paper is glossy, I got a ‘swish type’ texture. I left some white on purpose.

With the intention of making the gold less transparent, I added a flesh-colored mat paint to the gold, using a dauber sponge through a corner section of the 9x12 club set stencil. Had a happy accident - my sponge dauber was damp from the previous cleaning and made an interesting-looking design.


Next, I added random shapes with a dry dauber sponge and the 4x4 club stencil.

Using a dry dauber sponge, I filled in the female mask cutout stencil with flesh tone opaque paint and gold, which created the looking I was going for. :) 

I then laid the mask over the cutout shape and colored in the open sections with a pencil. I really like the scratchy pencil look. 

For the positive words, I used a sharpie to color each letter. Note: I adjusted the stencil for the second line to make sure the letters fit onto the bookmark. I then colored over the bridges to make the letters flow together.

To give a bit of a 3-D look, I laid the stencil back in place and then shifted it left ever so slightly and drew in a thin black line on the left of each letter. 

Add a ribbon and it is ready to use! I usually add their name to the tag as well.  IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to let your bookmark dry completely before sliding it into the sleeve.  I was excited to finish it and made a little smear. So, this one will be mine and I'll create an unsmeared one as a gift. :D

For more ideas, tips, and techniques for words and African symbol collection, check out the videos below:

Creating with word stencils.

Lots of ideas for the West African Symbols ATC Collection.

You can find all of my StencilGirl® stencil designs HERE and HERE!

Take Care and Stay Positive!

Instagram: @trenabrannon

Facebook: Trena Brannon Art & Design

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