Layered Portraits

Hi, it’s Tessa from How To Make Art here to share a fun way to make portraits using Niji Splash Inks and Authentic Chinese Watercolors.  I hope you will enjoy the process!  I made two examples so that you can see how varied you can make these portraits.  Here is one of the finished pieces:

Here is what you will need:
*Niji Splash Inks
*Yasutomo and Company’s Authentic Chinese Watercolors
*Water for mixing Niji Splash Inks
*An eye dropper for water (used when mixing Niji Splash Inks)
*A pencil
*Watercolor Paper
STEP ONE:  Mix up several colors of Splash Inks – choose colors that you think would be fun for a portrait!  Get out your watercolor paper and brushes, and paint a loose, abstract face onto your paper, eliminating all the details, like so:
Don’t worry too much if there are little drips and “mistakes” here and there – this will just add to the charm of the finished piece!
STEP TWO: After the Splash Ink dries, do a pencil sketch on top of the loose portrait you already made, defining the details of the face, like this:
STEP THREE: Now it’s time to fill in some details and accent the portrait with the Authentic Chinese Watercolors.  The nice part about using these in conjunction with the Splash Inks is that when you paint on top with the watercolors, the Splash Inks will not bleed or move – this is because they are acrylic inks, so once dry, they can’t be reactivated with water.  This makes them a great first layer to your layered portrait!  Here is a shot of what it looks like to paint some watercolor details and accents on top of the Splash Ink layer:
And here is the finished piece:
Here is another example.  This is the first layer done with Splash Inks:
And then comes the pencil layer:
Finally, watercolor is added, and here is the finished piece:
Thanks for creating art with me!  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.


Playing With Pattern

Hi, it’s Tessa from How To Make Art here to show you a fun project using Splash Inks and patterns.  I hope you will enjoy it!

Here’s what you will need:

*Yasutomo and Company’s Black Permawriters, .05 and .07

*Paper or sketchbook

*Computer with Photoshop OR Xerox Machine with Scissors and a Glue Stick

*Niji Splash Inks

*Paint Brush

*Two cups of water (one for washing out your brush, one for adding water to mix Splash Ink colors)

*Eye dropper (to add water when mixing Splash Ink colors)

Step One: Create a drawing of something you wish to turn into a pattern.  I drew this deer in my sketchbook using Yasutomo and Company Permawriters:

Step Two: Create a pattern out of your drawing.  You can do this two ways: either with a computer with Photoshop or by hand with a Xerox machine, scissors, and a glue stick.  If using Photoshop, just scan your image, then copy and paste the image again and again, creating two staggered rows of your drawing.  Print out the black and white pattern.  If using a Xerox machine, copy your design over and over, cut it out, and glue it into rows on a piece of white paper to create a pattern.  Copy one last time to get a copy with no cut out pieces, and you are ready to color your pattern!  Here is what my finished pattern looked like in black and white:
Step Three: This is the fun part – where we use Splash Inks to color in the pattern!  I chose two different color palettes for my deer, one was brown/pink/orange, and the other was pink/orange/green.  I alternated the color palettes, making every other deer one color, while all the others were the opposite palette.  Since the palettes were similar, they went together well.  I mixed up my colors using combinations of the four main Splash Ink colors and water, according to the guidelines in the instructions.  I took a looser approach to coloring in my pattern, since the actual black and white lines were so uniform, I decided to fill in my deer and leaves just outside of the lines, giving the pattern a bit of an organic feel:
Step Four: Finish coloring your entire pattern in, then think of all the ways you can use a sheet of patterned paper: for the endsheets or covers or a book, to wrap a present, to make a small card… The possibilities are endless!  Here is my finished patterned paper:
Happy Creating!! 🙂


Sea Salt Texture

Hi, it’s Tessa from How to Make Art, and I’m going to show you a fun technique using Niji Splash Inks and sea salt!

Here’s what you will need:
*Eye dropper for water
*Coarse (large grain) sea salt
STEP ONE: Do a light pencil drawing that you intend to fill in with paint.  In your drawing, make sure you have a large area that you want to add texture to.  In my drawing, I made a girl standing behind a wall.  I intend to add texture to the wall.
STEP TWO: Mix up the colors of Splash Ink you intend to use on your piece.  Fill in the large area that you want to add your texture to, and make sure you use a heavy, wet coating of splash ink.  As soon as you finish blocking in the area, sprinkle some sea salt on the paint in random areas.
STEP THREE: Allow the Splash Ink to dry completely before brushing off the salt.  Once you do brush the salt off, you will see that it has created a unique, random, and organic looking texture:
STEP FOUR: Fill in the rest of your piece with Splash Inks.
STEP FIVE: Refine your drawing by using the .05 and .07 Permawriter pens.  Start with the .05 Permawriter for fine details, then create larger lines with the .07 Permawriter to finish off the edges of your drawing.  Now you’re done!
Thanks for making art with me today!

Simple Little Ways

Hi, it’s Tessa from How to Make Art, and I’m here to show you a few fun techniques for your art journal pages.  Here is the finished product in my art journal:

Here’s what you will need:

*Niji Splash Inks
*Authentic Chinese Watercolors
*Chinese Ink in Ultra Black
* Nori Paste
*Colored Pencils
*Fixative Spray
*Art Journal with thick pages (in order to hold wet media)

STEP ONE: Create a background with Splash inks and colored pencil.  I then blacked out a large area for my text/collage with the Authentic Chinese Ink in Ultra Black.  I love the way this ink covers effortlessly with just one coat!

STEP TWO: Create a phrase or tiny pencil sketch on a smaller piece of sketch paper.  I tore the edges of my paper to give it a fun deckled edge effect.

STEP THREE: Color your small drawing or phrase with the Authentic Chinese Watercolors.  I started with a yellow background then filled in the letters in the middle word with red/purple.  Last, I went over my cursive words with orange, to give the letters a highlighted look.

STEP FOUR: Apply Nori paste to the back of the paper, and glue it into your book.  Now you are finished!  Enjoy making art today!

Freeform Pink Hair

Hello! It’s Tessa from How To Make Art, and I’m here to show you a fun project using Niji Splash Inks.  I’ve been working with them a lot lately, and they are so versatile and fun!  In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I decided to make a project that focused on the color pink.  Hope you enjoy it!



*Watercolor Paper

*.05 Y&C Permawriter

*Niji Splash Inks



Here is the finished piece:

Step 1: Do a pencil sketch of a woman in your own style of drawing, but leave out her hair.
Step 2: Go over your pencil lines with the .05 Permawriter pen.
Erase your pencil lines.
Step 3: Paint your face with Niji Splash Inks in light brown, flesh, pink, and blue.  Look at your Splash Ink color chart that comes in the package to find out how to mix these colors.
Here is my first ink application with light brown for shadows:
Then here she is with the additional colors added with flesh for the face, pink for the lips and blush, and blue for her eyes:
Step 4: Create the hair and collar by using the pink and blue that you previously mixed up.  Lay down a heavy coat of water where you want the hair to go.  Now use a dropper to apply your pink Splash Ink onto the area you have saturated with water.   Move your color around a bit with your brush, but let the edges fan out, creating freeform edges that are fun and unexpected.  Do the same with the blue as you create the collar.
Step 5: Add some embellishments with your .05 Permawriter after the piece dries.
Hope you have fun making art!

The Last Fruit of Summer

ImageWe are still running our air-conditioners, but summer is on its last leg here in Georgia. Yellow finches are cleaning out the purple cone flower seeds. The grass is starting to dry up. Purple blossoms are dropping from that mysterious bush out back. Summer is fading out.

Like many of you, my back yard is a constant source of inspiration. This week, I’ve been inspired by the soft, washed-out colors and warm breezes of September. Using inks, rice paper, and my sewing machine, I created a soft paper lantern embellishment that conveys the nostalgic feeling of the last fruit of summer. This easy project is such a fun way to add an element of softness, light, and color to any room or outdoor space.


Step 1:   Stack 4-6 sheets of rice paper on your work surface.


Step 2:   Spray the paper thoroughly with water.

Step 3:   Drip inks directly from their bottles onto the paper. If you want to create new colors, mix them in a small cup and use a wet paint brush to drip the ink colors onto the wet paper.  Use the spray bottle to further dilute and mix the colors on the paper.



ink splashed paper

As you can see from my photo, I really had no plan and kind of played around with dripping, using a paint brush, and spraying with my spray bottle. The pattern is not very important, as each piece is cut into small pieces once dry.

Step 4:   Hang the wet rice paper on a drying rack that has been covered with plastic wrap. The wet rice paper is very delicate, so be careful as you place it on the drying rack. Once dry, it is quite sturdy.


Step 5:   Once dry, cut the pieces into small rectangles.


Step 6:   Using a sewing machine, stitch the pieces together side by side about ½” from the top of each rectangle. Do not worry if the pieces don’t line up perfectly. When you’ve stitched all the rectangles together, you will have a garland of lovely imperfect flags.


Step 7:   Wrap the garland around the paper lantern, using a small blob of Yasutomo Nori paste every 3-4 inches. The paste works so well with the rice paper. Just a tiny bit of paste and a little bit of pressure secures the garland into place.





Step 8:  If you have gaps of unpainted or unadorned lantern, add some ink drops and squirt with water. Hang the lantern to dry.



  • Instead of a white paper lantern, use a colored lantern.
  • Mix Niji Splash Inks to create colors that perfectly match your décor or party theme.
  • Add some shimmer with metallic gel pen accents.
  • Create a variety of lamps in different sizes. Hang them in a cluster for a dramatic effect.

How do the changing seasons inspire you?