Journal Friday #102


I completely forgot to post the last Journal Friday here, so I’m catching up now. I’ve already posted the video to social media, but I wanted to post it here as well.

This spread really came out of nowhere, and I wasn’t of any of it when I started, except that I new that I wanted to start with collage. As I started the spread, I got a phone call from my brother saying that one of our uncles had passed away. It wasn’t unexpected. He had suffered a stroke a few months ago, and had been in the hospital ever since. He hadn’t really recovered, and I wasn’t surprised with the call. But still it was sad, and my heart hung heavy as I worked on the spread. The news did help dictate the direction of the page, and it became a way to process the feelings and emotions.

I did a variation on blackout poetry once I glued the book pages in, and I searched out rather heavy words as I began to string together phrases. But as I looked outside at the leaves beginning to bud on the bushes and trees, I knew I had to incorporate inspirations of spring despite the sad the news. As I worked through the page, I allowed my thoughts to churn and turn. Though the final spread seems to bear little to no semblance to the sad news, it was a great help in allowing me to process my feelings.

Creative Prayer Book: Embellishing


Welcome to the twelfth and final lesson of the Creative Prayer Book. In this lesson, I try to wrap up my pages with some simple embellishments. Though I talked of embellishing text last week, this lesson is about adding a bit more to the pages in general, as a way to tie things together on a page, to fill in some empty areas, and to bring some emphasis to certain areas.

You can use any materials to embellish, but I like to use drawing materials like pens, paint markers, and colored pencils. There are also a large number of ways to embellish, but I’m keeping it rather simple as I bring a bit of polish to my pages.


Lines, Shapes, and Patterns

One of the simplest ways to add embellishments is to add lines, shapes, and patterns. These little touches can help fill in empty areas and add a final layer to pages. By grouping them closely together around elements you can bring a bit of emphasis and make the elements “pop”. I like to use my uni-ball Vision pens for much of this, but paint markers work great, as well, especially when drawing over glossy surfaces like magazines.

I like to use stripes, spirals, rectangles, and circles as I embellish, and I can even use stencils and tracers to add the embellishments.


Colored pencil is perfect for adding a bit of depth to my pages as I use them to shade and color in areas. I use the colored pencils very much like I did the Inktense and watercolor pencils earlier on in the workshop and shade around elements. By applying a darker value around a shape or a letter, the shape or letter “pops” out from the page since the colored pencil acts like a shadow. I try to lighten up on my pressure so that the color fades into the background. I can be very neat and careful with this technique, or I can be a bit messy and give my page a bit of a rougher feel.

I also use the colored pencil to shade or color in areas and letters, and I like to use white colored pencil sometimes. The white doesn’t cover everything within the space, but it lightens it. This can bring a bit of contrast to the space making it stand out.

Shading is always a great way to add some final embellishment to a page.

As you work, try to think of various ways to decorate and embellish your pages. Try some of these ideas, and perhaps, try combining them. Or think of your own ways to wrap up your pages, and use any material that you like. Just remember that you’re just trying to add a bit of pizzazz to your pages on not completely reworking them.

I hope that you enjoyed these lessons, and I’ll be back next week to wrap up things. I’ll share a flip through my pages, and talk about the project, as well as share about what’s to come.

Thank you so much, and happy creating!

Creative Prayer Book: Embellishing Text


Welcome to the eleventh lesson of the Creative Prayer Book. In this lesson, I work again with text, but this time, it’s all about embellishing the words that are already in the book. Though I’ve discussed embellishing text a little bit in a few of the recent lessons, today is about using a few simple techniques to make the words stand out using marker and pen.


Besides coloring in the text with solid color, outlining is probably one of the most basic embellishing techniques. It’s easy enough to use a contrasting color, whether it’s white or black, to go around the edge of words and letters and create a bit of a “pop”. The outline creates a nice separation with the background, and the contrast really heightens the effect.

Box It In

Sometimes creating a dark rectangle or box around a word can make it pop as well. I started off with Posca paint markers on the spread below to create the red letters, and then I used my black uni-ball Vision pen to create the rectangle. Unfortunately, this technique didn’t work out too great at first, and I had to add several layers of red to cover up the ink letters below. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, but things can usually be salvaged.

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Offset Outlining

This is like a combination of the above techniques — outlining and boxing it in. By leaving a bit of a space between the letter and the outline, I can tie whole words together in a single outline, as I create a slightly different effect. I do try to make the outline rather thick and heavy so that it stands out.

Try to experiment with embellishing text in a variety of ways in order to make it stand out. Use any materials that you want, and try some of these techniques or come up with your own. Just think of ways to jazz up your words and writing.

Thanks for joining me once again, and happy creating!

Creative Prayer Book: Drawn Text


Welcome to the tenth lesson of the Creative Prayer Book. We’ve focused on stenciling letters and words, using our own handwriting, and using found text, so this quick lesson is about drawing text. You might think about those block and bubble letters that you used when you were in school, and they’re perfect for this. But don’t limit yourself to just these two ideas. You can also use drawn script, fancy fonts, and graffiti letters and words. So, experiment with a variety.


If you’re not comfortable with drawing letters and words, use a pencil first, and perhaps practice on a piece of scrap paper first. If you’re a complete novice, one technique uses your own printed letters as a skeleton for the larger, drawn letter. Using a pencil, lightly write your word or words. Then, draw in the letters around the thin lines. You can make thin and thick letters this way. Erase your original, guide letter.

Of course, you can simply draw in the letters as you go, but be careful and pay attention to spelling. That’s why I like having the words and phrases drawn on a separate paper so that I can make sure that I am spelling things correctly. As you draw your letters, think about the outer shape of the letter, and if needed, use a pencil to lightly sketch in the lines.

I like to draw my letters with a pen, and I don’t worry about using a pencils. But I’m pretty confident with drawing words, but I still make spelling and placement mistakes.

Give drawing letters words and phrases a go!

I plan on just two more lessons in this series, and we’re done with the text and words, so if you still have space, feel free to stencil, write, draw, or find your text to fill in the spaces.

Thank you for joining me again, and as always, Happy Creating!

Journal Friday #99: Text


Words, text, and reflections are a big part of my journaling process, but there are times when I might not want the text to be so obvious, especially since I openly share my journal with others. So obscuring the words is a great way to include writing while making it hard to read.

Today I worked primarily with text using a General’s Sketch & Wash pencil (water-soluble graphite), Derwent Inktense pencils, and uni-ball Vision pens. I focused on using the text in a more graphic manner, and the reflective writing provided a textured background while the stenciled words created some big words that stand out. The smaller emphasized words provided a little visual pop. I see this as a good start, and I’ll most likely add more to this spread in the future.

I hope that you enjoy the video!

Creative Prayer Book: Handwriting

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It’s the eighth lesson of the Creative Prayer Book, and I’m diving into more into my creative affirmations. Remember that you can add any text that you want — affirmations, quotes, song lyrics, poems, prayers. It’s really up to you.


Last week I used some stencils to add the words, so this time, I turn to those index cards with my affirmations, and I use my ordinary handwriting and my uni-ball Vision pens to add the text. I definitely don’t have a neat and fancy handwriting style, so I’m relying on my printed and cursive handwriting, but to make it stand out more, I thicken the letters by going back over the letters with my pen and carefully drawing in a thicker shape around the lines of the letters and filling in the resulting shapes with solid ink. This not only makes them bolder and easier to see, but it allows me to make the letters neater and to be a bit more artistic with them.

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As I decide what text goes on which page, I think about the placement of my words and how big to write them. Since the ink doesn’t draw too well on top of glossy surfaces, I try to avoid writing on top of magazine images.

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I do a couple pages of printed text and a couple pages of cursive text, and along with the stenciled text from last week, I have a good start with adding my affirmations to my pages. So think about how you can add more text to your pages using your ordinary handwriting.

Creative Prayer Book: Letter Stencils


Welcome to the 7th lesson of the Creative Prayer Book. This lesson is all about using letter stencils to begin adding text to some of the pages. I’ve decided to use my book as a book of affirmations, and I’m using a series of phrases, quotes, words, and ideas to create reminders about my creative journey. Several years ago, I wrote a bunch of these affirmations on index cards with the notion of using them in my journal or my art, but they have been sitting around my studio all this time. The Creative Prayer Book is a perfect use for them.

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As I begin adding words to my book, I want to use letter stencils for some of the affirmations, especially since I don’t have the best handwriting. I could just use the stencils plain, and trace the letters with a pen, pencil, or marker, but it can be hard to read the words sometimes. So, I want to use a couple of techniques to make the words “pop.”


I can use one of my favorite materials, Derwent Inktense pencils, to create some contrast around the letters so that the words stand out from the page. I trace the letters first with my black uni-ball Vision pen, and then shade a dark Inktense pencil around the letters and spread it with plain water. This makes the words stand out a bit from background. If the color isn’t dark enough, I can add a darker color later.


Another technique for making the words stand out is to fill them with color, and I could simply fill them in with solid color. But I like to fill them in a slightly more creative way. I like using my uni-ball Vision pens and leave a white line around the edge of the letters giving the letters a bit of a sophisticated look. By drawing a shape inside of the letters that runs parallel to the edge of the letters, I can then fill the shape to create a two-tone letter. I really like the look of this technique.

Think about using stencils in your book since their are a quick and easy way to add text and word. If you want to add a bit of flair and make the words stand out, try using a little ink or Inktense pencil to add some visual interest to the letters and make them “pop.” Try experimenting with letter stencils, but don’t fill all of your pages because we’ll tackle some other lettering techniques in lessons to come.

Happy Creating!

Journal Friday #97: Be Where You Are and Initiating a New Journal


I wanted to do something a little different for the time-lapse video that I made today, so I limited myself to using just a few materials — Derwent Inktense pencils, UHU glue stick, and uni-ball Vision pens. I also, started the spread off a bit differently. I used a series of ovals to create an overall texture as an initial layer, and then I built up other layers on top of it. I also drew a face, which I haven’t done for the time-lapse videos before. I had thought about adding more to the spread, but I’ve been trying to keep these videos to about a minute in length. Drawing the face and using the Inktense around the stenciled words took a little while, so I didn’t include everything that I was thinking about. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.

After creating the video, I broke out my new journal. I had started prepping it a while back, and the beginning of a new month seemed like a perfect time to initiate working in it. I didn’t do much and simply used a square stencil and an Inktense pencil to get something started. However small of a start it might be, it’s the first step of a grand, new adventure! I love beginning in a new journal. It’s always filled with such promise and potential.

Materials Monday: Letter Stencils


Words are almost as big of a part of my visual journaling process as the art making and the collage. As a journal, I want my book to reflect and document my daily life — my ups, my downs, and my in betweens, and words go a long way in helping with that. Naturally, I write out many of my reflections longhand, and of course, I draw words, text, and quotes to give emphasis. But having letter stencils on hand, is a quick and easy way to add letters and words, and they can be used with a wide variety of materials — everything from pen and pencil to acrylic and watercolor paints. I always have a few styles and sizes on hand so that I can tailor the letters and words to fit multiple purposes and situations.

I don’t have a favorite brand or kind of letter stencil, and over the years I’ve picked them up at arts and crafts stores, as well as office supplies stores. But I usually limit myself to the simpler, more generic lettering styles — Roman, Gothic, and Helvetica. I don’t like the to use the fancy or funky fonts — it’s just not my thing. I do try to have several sizes of the same font on hand — normally a small, medium, and large, and I do have a couple of extra large sets for when only a big word will do.

Letter stencils, also called lettering guides, come in a variety of materials as well, and I must say that I prefer the thinner, flexible plastic stencils since they take up less space. I can throw a few of them in the pocket of my large journal and take them anywhere. However, they do get beat up a bit, and they can get bent and even torn — especially the delicate insides of letters. The stiff, thick plastic stencils are much more durable, but not as portable so I relegate them to the studio. I have used the stencils cut from heavy paper, but they tear easily and don’t hold up to wet media.

I steer clear of stencils with already cut words and phrases because they are somewhat limiting.  You probably aren’t going to use them a whole lot and stencil the word and phrase over and over and over again. I like being able to create any word, any phrase — much more versatile. I also like to use letters and numbers as graphic devices, and I often stencil “ABCD” or “12345” onto pages and artworks. I also, like to stencil a letter like “X” over and over to create patterns. This allows me to play around with letters on a purely visual level.

If you don’t have any letter stencils, go get yourself some, and have fun playing with words, letters, and numbers.