Friday, December 23, 2022

Holly, Jolly Christmas Gnome lace cut journal page

Hi Everyone,
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Down Under! While we are sweltering in the summer sunshine, my Irish bones misses the Northern Hemisphere Christmases - dark and cold, snuggled up by the fire. I think this is why every Christmas I create snowy scenes in my art journals to recreate the Christmases of the past. 

This page is inspired by the talented Claire Stead (art journal love on Youtube and Instagram) and her amazing lace cut alphabet pages. It is such an easy technique, but a really effective framing tool for a page or a card. If you don't like cutting, try using a die cut machine to cut out the letters and adhere them on a piece of transparency or vellum to re-create to look easily.

To start I created a colourful background with acrylic paints and layered over lots of stencils with different patterns. None of these stencils are ' Christmassy' but choose whatever you have at hand. I also used a very bright colour palette with a gold metallic thrown in - you choose whatever colour palette suits your Holiday aesthetic. 

Once I was happy with my background I sketched out the rough shape of a Christmas Gnome (I used Pinterest to find a guide) and cut it out. I then used some skin tone paints to paint a rough oval face shape. I then used white to paint in a beard loosely with a lot of texture. I also added some glittery texture paste to add to the texture. It you would rather use a white surface to do this than the heavily coloured/patterned background you can - and just cut the clothes out of the patterned paper like a patchwork. I added in details to the face, hat and clothes using paint pens, water colour pencils and a stabilo all pencil. 

To complete the cut page, I hand drew the lettering with a white stabilo pencil. I used a black dotted grid journal which helps with sizing and spacing. You can use an alphabet stencil or stamps to help you do this part as well. Just make sure that your letters touch and overlap slightly so that they will stay together when the negative space is cut out. With an exact knife and a cutting board underneath, carefully cut away any excess card from the page. Make sure that you have a sharp knife to do this - you may need to change blades if the paper starts to pull when you cut. When you have finished you can outline your letters and highlight them to make them stand out. I chose to stencil over the top of my letters with gold to really make them stand out from the background. Finally I chose to glue some vellum behind my letters so that you could see a glimpse of what was behind, but not the entire page. I have often used transparencies as well which is a great alternative. This gives the page a little more stability - especially if your letters are a little bit fragile. 

The stencils I have used on this page are the following, but remember - use any you like as they are just to add pattern and interest into the backgrounds.

I hope you have a go at completing a page like this. And don't think it has to be holiday themed - check out my instagram page (@niamhbaly) to see lots of examples which are using the same technique, but completely different. I also have a live free class on my YouTube channel which takes you through a very similar project step by step in real time.
Free class: Oh Christmas tree - part two

Happy Creating,
@niamhbaly (Instagram/Youtube)
@niamh's art journal (Facebook)

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