Our latest featured project is Ranjini's art journal.
Ranjini has been has been designing creative projects for the 7gypsies design team for over 2 years. She once told us: I believe that the world is an unlimited source of inspiration and creativity, the journey and what you learn about yourself along the way, is always more important than the destination.
Needless to say, we kinda like this gypsy. A lot.
When we received this project at the gypsy workshop, the details on each page completely blew us away.
We just had to find out how she did it.
SO we asked Ranjini if she'd be willing to share some of her secrets and techniques, and here's what we found out! (p.s. we can't wait to use these ideas in our next projects)
7gypsies: Ranjini, how did you start this project?
Ranjini: I started with a ready made sketchbook purchased at an art supply store. I customized it by altering the cover with 7gypsies Global paper & assorted embellishments then removed the plain wire bindings and replaced them with a mixed assortment of crystal binding rings.
7gypsies: Why did you decide to create this type of journal?
Ranjini: My art journal was created out of a desire to have a single go-to resource/work in progress that I could constantly add to, and where I could try my hand at a number of different mediums as well as add lots of little bits and pieces of inspiration.
My style has always been clean and simple, but I wanted a place to be able to express myself a little more freely and not worry about perfection, just draw and paint and cut and paste and scribble at random. It was very freeing!
7gypsies: This looks a bit intimidating! What advice can you give to someone who isn't sure they should give this a try?
Ranjini: Perfectionism can make you reluctant to try this type of journaling - but once you delve in it is very freeing and addictive.
This style of journaling is very creatively freeing and it gives you a way to use those tiny bits of inspiration that you've been saving or hoarding! It is also a great inspirational resource and allows you to try new art mediums without worrying about the end product too much.
7gypsies: The sketches and writing help tell the story and make the journal feel authentic to you. Yet, many people don't like their handwriting or consider themselves good at sketching. Do you have any tips for those of us who don't sketch well? Any sources for where we can gather ideas for what to sketch or write about?
Ranjini: Try to start sketching things that are fairly easy to draw, you want to be able to create quick sketches without worrying about perfection. Look to catalogs, greeting cards, children's picture books, magazines and online for sketching inspiration. You can also try blogs such as illustration friday which have wonderful inspiration. Or Etsy - there are wonderful artists on Etsy!
Start with light pencil sketches in simple geometric shapes (a table, a lamp, etc.) and keep a good eraser handy. Once you get comfortable you can try more complex things like people and landscapes. I sketched images straight from the Anthropologie catalog, I like simple pencil drawings, then add watercolor and once dry, outline with pen and ink so that the water won't cause the ink to run.
As to what to write, if you need a springboard, try online quotation sites such as Quote Garden or journaling prompts you can find online. Write about what inspires you, and why.
7gypsies: The watercolors are beautiful! How can we start adding this technique to our projects?
Ranjini: You can buy a basic set of watercolor paints fairly cheaply. I used a $4.99 Niji Pearlescent Watercolor Set purchased from United Art Supply. Most craft or art supply stores offer inexpensive basic or starter sets. (Here is a link to the one I used)
In addition to adding the watercolors to sketches, I like creating a light wash (add more water for a lighter wash) to the background of a page, allowing it to dry and journaling on top of the wash.
You can also use masks, stencils or write with watercolors. For fine detail work, I used a brush called The Incredible Nib by Grafix, which you can find here. It has a wonderful dual tipped nib that allowed me to draw in fine detail with the watercolor paint that I couldn't have done with a regular brush.
7gypsies: what would be a great basic toolkit for art journaling?
a supply of watercolor postcards sold in most craft stores for quick thoughts and sketches
or a watercolor journal such as a Moleskin Journal, choose something with sturdy paper to support everything you want to tape/glue in. It also works well for adding paint without warping.
gluestick or tape
decorative tapes: I LOVE all of the 7gypsies papertapes. It's perfect for taping something in quickly.
a small kit of paints, watercolors or colored pencils/markers - whatever appeals to you
a small pair of scissors or decorative edge scissors
a good journaling pen
a magazine or catalog for inspiration
mini label stickers by 7gypsies
7gypsies stamps~ there are so many to choose from and many journaling themed ones!
7gypsies: Would you be willing to show us how you created that darling tissue paper skirt for our Friday post?
Thanks so much for all of the tips, techniques and secrets Ranjini! You've definitely inspired us to try some new mediums and challenge ourselves creatively.
You can read more about Ranjini below. Be sure to check back Friday, we will be posting the tutorial for how to create the tissue paper skirt featured in the pages of Ranjini's journal.
I have been with 7 Gypsies since September 2009. I am a dreamer, storyteller, and artist. You can find me holed up in a local bookstore poring over magazines, reading a novel or children's literature, or looking for vintage or rare antique books and maps, all the while savoring a cup of hot tea. I love the eclectic, the unique, and anything Old World. I love combing antique stores and flea markets for vintage treasures that I can combine with new products to create something unexpected. I love the paper arts, but also have dabbled in watercolor painting, needle arts and photography. I live in Columbus, OH with my husband Bobby, our little girl Alekha and Murphy, our very lovable cream colored goldendoodle.
you can see more of Ranjini's inspiring work on her blog at: