Happy New Year, 2017! Art on a Shoe String!

 Happy New Year!!!
In my Facebook group –
Zentangle All Around –
we are starting a year long adventure!
You should come on over and join us.
One of the features I’m adding to the blog
this year that we will incorporate into
the 2017 extravaganza is
Art on a Shoestring!
Art 101.
Art on a Budget!
Also known as Walmart school supplies!
 On Facebook, and here on the internet,
I am often called the Queen of Color.
And I have to admit I love it!
Bright, vivid, lovely color!
Can you get that on a budget, you ask.
Yes! You can!
In the top photo you see a simple pan watercolor set that came
from the school supply aisle at Walmart.
I paid $1.29 for it a long time ago.
It’s one of my favorite.
Gather that,
a watercolor/mixed media journal – or similar paper,
some water, and a big brush.
Start by slopping a bunch of water all over
that paper.
I usually put splash guards (computer paper)
under the edges so the color doesn’t get
on the rest of my journal.
 Once your page is wet, load some color onto your paint brush.
Then just drag the color – swish it back and forth – through the water.
 If you have enough water on the page
you will notice the color start to move.
Movement is good.
 Then start dropping in some other colors.
Load that brush with water and have fun!
 I know there are lots of studies on the
color wheel and which colors go with each other.
I don’t worry myself about any of that.
I know what colors I like and those are
the ones I use.
 Add as many colors as you want.
I usually go with anywhere from 3-5.
Or so.
Depending on the size of my paper.
 Keep adding water as you need to.
If your paper gets too dry
just mop some more water onto it.
Or spray some with a spritz bottle.
At some point you may get too much
water in one place.
 Did I mention I keep a 45 gallon trashcan
and a 12 pack of paper towels in my
studio at all times?
And I usually fill that trashcan up each week.
When you have too much water you can
dab or blot it with a paper towel
you can even roll the paper towels right across
the top of the whole page.
 That’s going to pick up a lot of the color.
 So you add water and layer more color on.
There’s going to be a test later
 Keep adding back the colors you were using before.
Seem wasteful?
Not really.
As you add the color back, it will pick up
some of the color that was left behind
and you start to get beautiful combinations
that you didn’t have the first time.
 I didn’t even use yellow the first time
but it just seemed right at this point.
 And any time you keep adding water
you are going to get a puddle.
There are other ways to handle that puddle
but for the sake of this post,
dab it up with a paper towel.
 I just dabbed.
I didn’t roll.
So most of the color is still showing.
 You can use a heat gun
(or a hair dryer – budget tip!)
to dry your page.
You could let it air dry
but I am just that impatient.
You have a beautiful background
to tangle on,
or to use as a base for an art journal page.
And it was affordable.
*** Notice I made this page directly
in my art journal. ***
 Sometimes it is more fun to work on
individual sheets of mixed media paper.
I like to keep a stash of them to use
for collage, or to tangle on – they travel well,
to make journals out of (we will do that later.)
And while I’m thinking about it –
never throw your scraps away.
Get a ziplock bag or envelope and stash those
beauties away for later.
This particular watercolor set runs about
$3.99 at Walmart.
And I added in a spritz bottle of water.
An old plant mister
or an empty and washed out hairspray bottle
will work just as well.
 This little page is going to be a tip-in
page for my art journal.
(That will be another post.)
Cover it with water.
 Load your brush with your favorite color . . .
 . . . and drizzle it across your page.
 Start adding more color.
For this page I went with larger sections
of color to start with.
 My paper was getting too dry
so I just dropped more water onto the page
with the brush.
No fancy technique here.
 I didn’t used to use yellow
but I noticed it brightens up any page.
 We will work more on this in 2017,
here when I added too much water
I tipped the page and let the color run.
Love it!
 And I didn’t blot up the color this time.
I used the heat gun to push the color
and to dry it.
Well, that was fun.
But wait.
There’s another side to this paper
and I still have water in my cup.

There you have it!

What I did on the reverse side.

A second background of beautiful color,

interesting texture, cost effective, and super

easy to make.

And since I will use it as a tip-in

I will be able to use both sides of the paper.

Added after post was made:

I was asked on Facebook what kind of pen works on top of these watercolor papers.

Any pen you use to tangle with will work.

I have never had a problem with

microns, Pitt pens, Sharpie Fine Liner, copic multiliner, Staedtler fineliner – 

I’ve pretty much tried them all.


before you tangle, 

feel the surface of the watercolor.

If it feels rough or gritty or dusty –

buff it with a paper towel before you draw.

Art on a Shoestring

is where it’s at in 2017.

Check it out in Tangle All Around

on Facebook.

Knock on our door and I’ll

let you in.

8 thoughts on “Happy New Year, 2017! Art on a Shoe String!

  1. I still have the kids paint sets they would bring home at the end of each school year. They work great! Thanks for sharing and showing and Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year. So – Aurora can have a nice play in your trashcan by the sounds of it. Lovely magical colours, thanks again for the step by step.

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