Like many artists, I often find myself completely paralyzed when faced with a blank page. What if the very first thing I put on the page is a mistake and ruins everything? I find myself overthinking everything and it can quickly become discouraging. Whenever I find myself falling into this pattern, I turn to my favorite creative exercise, which involves quickly putting down paints and other materials on a larger piece of cardstock without much thought, and then later cutting everything into smaller pages.
Since I’ve been drawn to kraft, black, and white lately, I figured I would limit myself to those three colors, at least while creating my backgrounds. I placed two sheets of kraft cardstock down on a sheet of kraft-colored vellum. I like keeping my “under paper” for future projects so I try to be mindful of what paper I put down. I made sure the sheets of cardstock were lined up and touching, and then used whatever I happened to have on my desk to put down black and white acrylic paint. This included stamping it on with bubble wrap, smearing it with an old gift card, and simply dropping paint onto the cardstock. I then used my non-dominant hand to scribble lines on the cardstock. To finish the backgrounds, I adhered torn scraps of tissue paper using gel medium. Once everything was dry, I cut the cardstock into smaller pieces. When I was done, I had a small journal full of backgrounds ready for me to build upon.
As I was looking through each individual smaller page, a great idea came to mind. What if I challenged one of my artist friends to follow this same process, requesting that they cut their larger papers down to the same size, and then we traded a few? You could even get a few friends on board with this, and you’d find yourself with a ton of new backgrounds to work on!
Christen Hammons is the Director of Publishing for Stampington & Company and editor-in-chief of Somerset Studio, Bella Grace, Field Guide to Everyday Magic, and GreenCraft. She lives in Orange County with her husband, sassy cat, and scruffy dog.