Oil Pastel Resist

Hi, it’s Tessa from How To Make Art, and today I’d like to show you a fun technique using oil pastels as a resist with watercolors in your art journal.  This is what the finished page will look like:


Here is what you will need:

*Niji Watercolor Set

*Niji Oil Pastels

*Niji Permawriter, .07

*Glue or Gluestick



*Art Journal

STEP ONE: Create a simple drawing in your art journal with some of the oil pastels.  I chose to make a pattern with the white oil pastel.  You can barely see it in this photo, but here it is!

STEP TWO: Mix up your favorite colors of paint by adding some water to a dab of one of the watercolors from the set.
STEP THREE: Using your paintbrush, paint over the areas where you made your pastel drawings.  I love the beautiful effect that the oil pastel resist creates!

STEP FOUR: Add a word like “adventure” to your page using your Permawriter and a piece of scrap paper, then glue it on!

Thanks so much for creating with me today! 🙂


I made this paper napkin background for the Fall 2013 Altered Arts Magazine.  I’ve been hoarding it since then, just waiting for the perfect “something” to add to it!


Today, I am sharing a Doodle I made using Yasutomo Mineral Paper (which I am obsessed with) and Gel Xtreme markers.  The markers glide over the mineral paper so smoothly!  It is a wonderful combo to work with!!

If you LOVE to doodle like I do, you have to try it with roller ball pens/markers and mineral paper!  You will LOVE it even more!!




I got a package the other day from Yasutomo & Co.  I love designing for them, they have the most awesome art supplies!  In the package was the new Mineral Paper.  This paper is like nothing I’ve ever seen!  It is normal looking paper but it is super smooth.  It almost has a wet/clay feel to it but folds and creases beautifully.  Writing on it is awesome!  I did some doodling and the smoothness makes your pen gracefully slide across the paper!  It is available now and will be on the website *link above* next week!


It says “Easy to Fold and Water Resistant” on the package.  I tried the folding and doodling.  So now I decided to use the water on it.


I started with my Niji Splash Ink.  I only used yellow and blue.

I put the paper in my cardboard box  fancy spray box.

I filled a mister with water and sprayed the whole piece of paper.  I used A LOT of water.

I left it for about an hour, and sprayed the heck out of it again.

One more spray.  I really wanted to know how water resistant it was.

Clearly, it is water resistant!  Normally when you wet paper this much the fibers break down and cause the paper to warp.  This paper stayed perfectly flat.


But what about heat?  I dried the ink with a heat tool.  Not only did it not damage the paper but look at the beautiful way the inks dried on it!

I had a project planned and almost finished when I got this paper.  But this paper is so amazing I decided it deserved it’s own post!

*sorry about the flash, no sun here for days!*

It was just too pretty to do anything else to it!  Just Splash Ink, water and Mineral paper.  This is absolutely AMAZING!!!!  


I bet you can’t wait to try it!!



Using Splash Ink as watercolor paints is so awesome!  You have every color you could imagine so there is no need to buy tons of paints.  I painted this little canvas with Splash and detailed it with other Yasutomo Products.

Niji Splash Ink

PermaWriter Marker Black

Gel Xtreme White Marker

Faber Castell Canvas Kit from Altered Pages


I got my Splash Inks and my color chart ready and made a really soft pink, a darker pink, an orange yellow, a brown yellow and a green.  

I painted the soft pink on the petals first. 

Then I blended in the darker pink.  The cool thing about Splash is that it is easily blended with water.


I went over each petal with my white marker and put dots on the petals.  Then I used my PermaWriter to make dots in the center of the flower.  I added a few white dots too.  The black backing came with the kit.


Try using your Splash Inks as watercolor paints.  You will Love the results!!



Don’t you love it when you make a project that has a mind of it’s own? 

This is one of those projects.


Gather your supplies.  Fill 1 mister with Yellow Splash Ink, 1 mister with Blue Splash Ink and mix Splash Ink to make 1 mister of Red Ink.  You only need these 3 colors for this project.

Draw a winding area on your canvas, lightly, with a pencil.  Make light marks to show where the next color will start.  With just those 3 inks, we will make a smooth transition of all colors.

I didn’t have every color of flowers so I made some from paper and mostly used white flowers.  I had a lot of yellow and green flowers for some reason 🙂  Place your first color of flowers, and your last color of flowers on the canvas, using Nori Paste.  Let me tell you, if you want something to stick forever, THIS is what you want to use!!  Just brush it on, apply flowers, gauze, etc.  and in a short time it is stuck!!  

This is  the layout.  Fill in the rest of the canvas with flowers, gauze, burlap and pearls.

We will start spraying the yellow Splash over the yellow flowers and the canvas.  From top to bottom.  Go a little over onto the next flowers and canvas.  Then spray red Splash over the yellow (to make orange) and on the red area of flowers and canvas.  Go a little over onto the next flowers and canvas.  Spray the blue Splash Ink over the red (to get purple) and onto the blue flower and canvas area.  Go all over the blue and green areas with the blue, then go over the green area with yellow Splash Ink.  You have made a beautiful rainbow!!

Use your markers to write the words, and outline them with black.  Add ribbon pieces last and a few more pearls.  I couldn’t help myself, I had to spray glitter on it too!  And add wire spirals.  I told you it had a mind of it’s own!! 

 Because we sprayed the ink, we have a beautiful gradient of color!  Some of the white of the canvas and flowers is still showing which just adds more emphasis to the colors 

 Go color YOUR world!!


Fall Time Mirror

I just love all the colors of fall. The reds, yellows, oranges, just make me happy.  But sad to say these colors are only here for a few days.  How can I keep them always?  Art is always the right answer so off to my studio!

Sorry about the photo, I did not think when I made it how hard it would be to photograph it, but I think you get the idea.

1.  Start off with a white card stock and color with my NiJi Oil Pastels using red, yellows and oranges to make a wonderful background. Blend each color into the other.

2.  I found this mirror at the local art store (on sale) and painted it with Orange paint. Can you see that this mirror was a flower shape?

3.  I stamped onto the color card stock that I created with my personal line of stamps from SinCity Stamps.  I love this leaf plate of stamps and I have lots of great things planned for them.

4.  I cut each leaf out by hand and pasted each of them on the wood mirror frame with Nori paste.  I love the way this whole project worked out.  Sorry again about not getting that perfect photo.
How easy was that project?  Only four steps, so next time you see a mirror or frame, you know what to create with it.
Thanks again for stopping by


I want to share an art journal page with you today.



Niji Splash Ink SNK400

Niji Water Brush KWB20

Yasutomo Pale Gold WCW216-58

Yasutomo Gel Xtreme Metallic Rollers GX1007

Pro Art Gesso

Andy Skinner (for Nando Creative) “Baroque” Stencil

Misc. Brown Marker


I applied Gesso to my art journal first.  After it dried, I made Splash Ink Sprays.  A golden yellow (16Y, 1M, 1BK) and a maroon (4M, 2Y, 1BK).  I sprayed them all over the journal pages, and let them dry.


Next, I used the Pale Gold paint.  I painted the border of both pages,using my flat Water Brush,  so it looks like one page.  This paint is awesome to use!!  It is loaded with color and glides on so smooth!   I know I will be using this a lot!!


Then,  I used my stencil in 2 ways.  I used the corners on the top left and lower right , and the female face too.  I had all these big ideas on all the techniques and products I would use but when I used the first Gel Xtreme marker (gold) on the corners I fell in love again!!  These markers are amazing!!  And when you are done, it looks like you used leafing.  They are that  amazing!!!


Again, here is my finished project.  I LOVED making it!

Thanks for visiting!!


Moon Rising in Forest

One of the joys of being an artist is seeing accidental art develop in front of your eyes. You are working on one idea and another one runs across your desk and steals your attention. Which one do you follow? I chose the one that surprised and delighted me–the way sumi ink spreads on paper. Pure creative joy! The ink moves quickly, without control. Watch my video of the technique.


I’m Quinn McDonald, and for years, I’ve been working with an ink technique that uses the differing surface tension of water and ink. It’s in my new book, The Inner Hero Art Journal (out in December from North Light).  A few days ago, I created the journal page (above), that was both fresh and easy to create.  It does not require you to be an illustrator. You lose control (I know, that’s really hard) and let the ink go. Here’s how to do it.



Here’s how you make the journal page

1. Pour 1/4 teaspoon black sumi ink into a  small container.

2. Spray a very fine mist of water on the front of the watercolor paper. It will curl slightly, with the middle higher than the edges (convex).


3. Wet the larger watercolor brush, blot, and load with ink. Very carefully, touch the tip of the brush to the drops of water. The ink will jump across the water droplets, forming interesting spidery shapes. These are pine branches.


4. Work slowly and carefully up and down the page, creating these patterns. It takes a little practice–use less water than you think. The droplets should be separate to avoid a black wash of ink.

5. Allow the paper to dry. When it is cool to touch (not quite dry), Use the loaded bush to draw a heavier line along the edge. If your paper is too wet, this line (the tree trunk) will spread into the branches. This work counts on detail.

6. Repeat the process on the same side of the page, on the other edge. Allow to dry. Rinse your brush.


7. When the paper is dry, but still cool to the touch, dip your small brush into the rinse water, and test to see if you can draw a pale gray line. If the color is too dark, add more water. Use the thin brush to draw a horizon line at the bottom third  of the page, between the trees.


8. On the right side of the clearing, use the sparkling watercolor in orange to draw a partial circle for the rising moon.It will be pale. Allow to dry

9. Using the dark orange neon oil pastel, cover the circle, going beyond the edges. Smooth the color with a tortillon (a paper stump) or a cotton swab. Blend in a dark pink and a lighter yellow.


10. Make sure all the ink is washed out of the bigger brush. Load it with gold watercolor and create a wash around the moon. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of water, the dried sumi ink will not run.

11. Fill in some of the white areas with a very pale gray wash to indicate clouds and the ground. Using the fine brush and watered-down ink, add branches. Add detail with the Permawriter.

You have a journal page of contrast and visual interest. You can add hand-lettering if you’d like.


You can create a number of pages, and each will be different, depending on the ink and the detail you add.

Etegami and Beautiful Friendships

Etegami postcard

Etegami is Japanese for picture postcard, literally, “e” is picture and “tegami” is letter.

Today I will show you my process.

What you need:


•postcard stock

•Yasutomo Sumi-e Ink

•Yasutomo Traditional Chinese Watercolors

•a palette

•2 brushes, one for the ink and one for the watercolor paint. For the watercolor paint I used the Niji waterbrush.

•Magic Rub Eraser or your own name stamp if you have one.

First you actually need a subject to paint. Etegamis are traditionally seasonal, specific to where you are. Here in Hawaii we don’t really have fall colors, so I thought maybe I could paint some dried protea I had in my studio. It’s not vibrant, more muted in color, kind of fallish, right?


In this first example I started with a Strathmore watercolor postcard paper. Taking my Chinese brush and holding it perpendicular with 2 fingers I dip it into the black Sumi-e ink and begin to slowly draw my image, guiding the brush but not being too careful, letting “accidents” happen. They make for more interesting paintings.

EtegamiA-postcard  EtegamiA-brush


I’m now ready to add color. Taking my Niji Waterbrush I mix white with a little blue, red and brown for the tone I want. With Etegami you don’t really stroke the colors, you dab it and let some places have no paint, whatever happens, it’s all okay.



I squeeze the waterbrush  while painting, letting the paint kind of roll around, and then blot out the excess with a paper towel.


When you finish painting, since it is a postcard, an etegami, you write a short message. Maybe a poem, or something philosophical.  At first I wrote Beautiful Friends are Forever, relating the image and the message to whomever I was going to send this to. In this case, a very good friend who first introduced me to etegami this summer. But then I thought the message had kind of a double meaning so I made “Friends” “Friendship” so there would no mistake. Next, I added some more color to the message toning things down to match the flower image.


Finally, in Etegami instead of signing the artwork you stamp it with your own mark. In this case, I carved my name with an exacto on to a Prismacolor magic rub eraser. Please be careful here. If you have your own stamp already by all means use it. As you can see, my stamp is pretty crude, but makes for an interesting mark. And don’t forget to write in mirror. I’m lucky, I only have to remember to do the “k” backwards.


I did one more on real etegami paper. Real Etegami paper is kind of like rice paper. The ink spreads and makes more interesting lines. But it’s only my second effort at this and my frugal self was saving the paper for when I could do better. Anyway, here are images from that effort. Click on any image to see them larger.


Finished postcard.

Much Aloha from Tuko Fujisaki.

Splash Ink Postcards

Postcards are versatile and fun to make. You can deliver them personally, use them as gift enclosures, or use them as the ultimate mail art. I belong to Postcrossing, an international postcard exchange in which I’ve sent (and received) over 300 cards!  Today, I’ll show you how to make both of these postcards.


My name is Quinn McDonald and I’m a transplant from Washington, D.C. to Phoenix. Being chosen for the Niji-Yasutomo design team was wonderful because I’ve been using the products for years and love to experiment with art supplies. I’m a writer, creativity coach, and collage artist.

Splash Inks are portable fun in a bottle. Today, we are going to marble paper with Splash Inks, then use the paper to make the postcards. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make this project.


Splash Inks, a flat deep, non-reactive pan about 10 inches long and at least 2 inches deep (25 x 5 centimeters).  Shown  (above) is an enameled meat tray you can buy as a palette in most art supply stores.

Niji1A_StarchThe medium to float the inks is Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch. It comes in a blue half-gallon bottle.  A spray bottle with a fine, misting spray and a roll of paper towels come in handy.

You’ll also need several pieces of Mixed Media paper (I like Strathmore and Canson). You can also use Arches Velin, or 90-pound watercolor paper by Bee. Add an eye dropper, a big-tooth comb, a shower squeegee and a group of small containers to mix your favorite color inks and you are ready. Start by protecting your worktable with newspaper and wearing gloves if you want to keep your hands ink-free.

Shake the bottle of starch to blend the ingredients. Pour the starch into the dish so you have at least an inch of fluid in the dish. Stir gently with the comb or a gloved finger to remove the bubbles.

Niji3_smalldotsUsing an ink dropper, add several drops of ink to the surface of the starch. The first time you do this, the drops will be small and sink. Expect one or two test sheets till the starch is tempered.


You can use colors right out of the bottle, or you can mix inks into small containers. A color blending chart is included along with the four bottles of Splash Ink.


After several test sheets (save them for collage work), the ink drops will get larger and float well enough so you can put drops within drops. You can marble with this pattern (called ‘stone’) or you can use the comb and gently drag the teeth through the liquid.


Drag the wide teeth of the comb left to right.


Drag the narrower teeth up and down. The more you comb the finer the pattern. Colors will blend with a lot of stirring.


Place a sheet of paper onto the surface. Place one end onto the surface then “roll” the paper and drop the other end. That keeps air from getting trapped under the paper and leaving a big white spot. Above, you can see that the bottom, left hand corner of the paper is picking up from the surface. That’s a sign to pick up the paper, the marbling is done. It takes about 10-15 seconds for the color to transfer.


Carefully pick up the paper and put it on the newspaper. To get the starch to run off, tilt the paper slightly by putting it on a piece of crumpled newspaper. After about one minute, spray the paper with a mister to rinse off extra starch.  If you like a very crisp look with distinct lines, wipe the excess starch off the paper with the shower squeegee. It will take off some color with it.


To make pastel shades of paper, drop the sheet on the surface, let it absorb color, then use a palette knife (or the comb) to push the paper under water. The back will become marbled in a pastel swirl of color.


Make many sheets at once to have choices. To clean the surface of the starch, float a paper towel on it to absorb the ink, then add more ink. Above, you can see several sheets–upper left is a sheet made with the four colors in the bottles; upper center, a pastel effect by sinking the paper; bottom left is a piece scraped with the shower squeegee.

The papers may curl while they are wet. To get them flat, put them between two sheets of parchment paper and iron them on a medium setting till they are flat.


To make postcards, you’ll need watercolor postcards or Strathmore Ready-Cut (5-inch by 7 inch), a small palette to mix the Splash Inks, a brush (watercolor or acrylic is fine), a paper punch to cut out designs, Nori glue and a piece of scrap paper to test ink colors. First, mix colors for a postcard background. It should coordinate with the marbled paper you will use. Because you want the background to be pale, use a lot of water in the ink blend. This will give you the transparent effect of watercolors.

Spray the front (image side) of the postcard with water. Load the brush with diluted ink and create a color wash over the postcard.

Niji11_cutUsing the paper punch, cut out several teardrop shaped pieces from the marbled paper. You’ll need two big pieces and two small pieces for every butterfly, and five pieces (either large or small) for the flower.

Niji_card2When the watercolor wash on the postcard  is dry, use Nori glue to create the butterflies on the postcard. Nori glue dries slowly, so it is re-positionable, a big plus if you live in a dry climate. The butterflies will look very different, depending on the angle of the four pieces. Play with placing them before you glue them down.

Niji_card1For the flowers, you can turn the pointed end of the cut-out pointing toward the center our out toward the edge. Having a part of a flower extend over the edge and trimming it off gives the piece a more natural look. Add glitter glue centers and dots to unify the flower image.


Trace around the petals and butterflies with a Niji Gel Extreme pens for a finished look. You can see more postcards I made using using marbled paper on Pinterest.

And you can see more art supplies at