Hi everyone. It’s Laura here. I am very flattered and honored to have been asked to provide Week 33‘s Art Journal Adventure prompt. My artwork is often inspired by narratives, characters, and themes from mythology, fairy tales, and folk stories. I find that these traditional tales offer me a treasure trove of inspiration to root around in for art ideas and I hope that you will find that to be true for you too. So my chosen prompt is to find inspiration in mythology, fairy tales, or folk stories.
Spoiled for choice of subject, I finally opted to create an art journal page about selkies. I am Scottish and selkies are beings from Scottish mythology, shape-shifters who can appear as seals or transform into human form.
It having been a while since I painted on top of a gelli print in my art journal so that is what I decided to do. When gelli printing into my art journal, I place the journal alongside the plate and then press the single journal page down onto the plate. Another technique is to lift the gelli plate and press it down onto the journal page like a stamp but I prefer the former method. Knowing my chosen subject was a sea creature, I worked with acrylic paints in shades of blue, starting with a simple block of one colour.
I don’t mind that my gelli plate is smaller than my journal page (the white can act like a frame) but it was bothering me that the print was so squint (misaligned). I, therefore, ran a brayer down the side of the print after using the brayer to spread another shade of blue onto the gelli plate.
I built up the layers of the print by creating my own masks for the plate. I simply tore a piece of copy paper into strips to create uneven edges. For the first mask layer, I used a different shade of blue to create contrast with the base layer.
For the second masked layer, I used a catalyst tool to create some visual texture on the gelli plate before placing the torn paper masks again.
For the third masked layer, I placed the masks closer together to create narrower spaces and I also used a more translucent paint so that the previous layers would show through.
The final print was, therefore, the result of four layers of gelli printing.
Once the print had dried in my art journal, I sketched out the composition for my selkie illustration. I normally draw very lightly with pencil. However, for the purposes of sharing my process, I highlighted the drawing by outlining with white paint pen.
I blocked in the selkie figure using a couple of layers of acrylic paint. That provided me with the base layer for working with other media.
After sketching in the facial features, I filled in the eyes, nostrils, and line of the mouth using micron pens because they are waterproof. I used the same pens to add lines to the hair to suggest strands floating in the water.
To add definition to the selkie, I used Derwent Inktense pencils. I like the fact that they are fixed once dry as it means they don’t move when subsequent layers are added. I used blues and grey to build up shading on the selkie’s face and body.
Wanting a bit more visual texture on the seal part of the figure, I used three Neocolor II crayons and activated them with water.
I encouraged the Neocolor II pigments to pool and puddle to create a blotchy, patchy effect once dry. I used a Sakura Gelly Roll pen to add white catch lights to the eyes.
I wanted to make the selkie figure cohere with the background so I decided to use spatter across the whole journal page as a unifying element. I love spatter and look for any excuse to use it but in this case the spatter also suggested bubbles and movement in the water. I created more masks from strips of torn paper. I only wanted narrow areas of spatter – using thinned white paint – so I spaced the paper strips accordingly.
And with that, my selkie art journal page was done!
Here is a closer look.
And this angle shows some of the texture in the background.
I hope you are inspired by this week’s prompt to create a journal page based on some aspect of mythology, folk stories, or fairy tales. If that doesn’t spark your creative mojo, however, perhaps you could do some monoprinting, or create homemade masks, or paint on top of a print you have created. I very much look forward to seeing what you create. Thank you to Barbara and Bonnie for asking me to generate this week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt.
Links to a few of the supplies used :