Mermaid Love


I know I have used the ocean as a theme for many of my posts and once again I go to my favorite place so I hope you will indulge me yet another time.

Today’s illustration was done using Splash Inks, Niji Waterbrushes, Yasutomo Sumi Ink and a sharp round brush for inking, Nori paste and anothe brush for gluing, an old paperback book and watercolor paper.

I always start with a quick sketch.


Then on watercolor paper, or in this case I used a coated archival chipboard, I redraw the image I want. I made some changes while I was drawing onto the board (I’m sure you noticed the sketch was a little different from the final on top).

Before inking in the lines I painted the water using Splash Ink watercolors and a flat Niji Waterbrush.



I then inked in the whole thing using my round brush and the Yasutomo Sumi Ink which I absolutely love.


I inked in everything but the water. For that I wanted to do in collage using paper from an old paperback book.


I tore some pages out out and ripped them into tiny pieces for my collage water. Then I glued them using the Nori paste we’ve all grown to love. It was time consuming and I did think for a moment that maybe I made a mistake in wanting to be so trendy. But in the end I just told myself this was good therapy.



Once all the pasting was completed and dry, I painted the rest of the drawing. I gave the mermaid a slightly blue face because after all, she is underwater. In the hair I added more dashes with a little darker shade of her hair.


To make the water collage more subtle I decided to add turquoise blue paint, again with the flat Niji Waterbrush.


Then to add that little extra sparkle I used one of hearts that have a sticky back that you can find in a hobby store, I just happened to have one lying around.


And that’s how it’s done, with a lot of love! Have a great day!


I loved the name of this collage sheet from Altered!  Altered Pages and Niji Yasutomo Co. are cross promoting this month.  I made my “Not A Red Valentine” using both company’s products.

Altered Pages Collage sheet AP2055 “Not A Red Valentine”

Strathmore Mixed Media Paper

Niji Oil Pastels

Yasutomo Gel Xtreme  Markers

Permawriter Black Marker

Yasutomo Nori Paste

Craft Smart Paint Pen

Baby oil

Random Bits and Pieces: gauze, flowers, leaves, numbers, pearls

Gather your supplies.

Use the white oil pastel to draw words, flowers and hearts.  Scribble over them with multiple colors of oil pastels.  Use baby oil on a paper towel to blend the oil pastels.

The colors blend wonderfully!  But, the white under them stays so you have these fun designs left.  Score the paper into an accordion shape.

Trace over the designs with a Permawriter.

Add some dots and doodles, apply the collage sheet image and other embellishments using Nori Paste.  I like the look of my Valentine.  It’s fun to use a different color for a change.



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!!


Mini Wall Plaques with Nori Paste

Hi, it’s Tessa from How To Make Art, and today I’m going to show you a quick and easy project: Mini Wall Plaques.  These little wooden plaques look great on a wall or resting on a shelf.

Here is what you will need:

small piece of wood


dremel tool

color printer with photo paper


Yasutomo and Company’s Nori Paste


wax paper

heavy books

STEP ONE: Cut your wood to the size you prefer.  I cut my piece to measure 3″ x 3″ and sanded the edges with sandpaper.

STEP TWO: Add a hole for hanging on the back of the piece, right in the top center:

(Please ignore the hole at the bottom – that was my first attempt, and it didn’t work!)

STEP THREE: Print your artwork out, making sure to make it the same size that you cut your wood – in my case, 3″ x 3″.  Cut it out carefully with a pair of scissors.

STEP FOUR: Apply a light coating of Nori paste to the top side of the wood.  Don’t make your layer of glue too thick, or it will seep out over the sides.

STEP FIVE: Carefully lay the printed artwork on top of the glue layer, making sure that the hole on the back corresponds with the top of your artwork.  Place a small sheet of wax paper over the entire piece, then place heavy books on top of the artwork so that the piece will dry totally flat.  (The wax paper is used so that excess glue will not stick to your books.)

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy making these little art reproductions with Nori Paste, which has quickly become my new favorite adhesive!  Nori Paste really adheres so well and with no air bubbles, so it’s a paper crafter’s dream come true.

Have a great day!

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!


niji oct 16 c good too

Lea, bringing you a very special post.  This is very near and dear to my heart.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  While I never had breast cancer, I’ve had a similar experience with another form.  After many surgeries, and chronic health issues to contend with; I am very happy to be creating and going forward in my journey – I am blessed!  I know a few friends who have had breast cancer and like me, treatments are no fun!  Let’s take a pause today and send our love to all going through treatments at this moment, and that cure for cancers are near.

My project today is encouraging words as a cover of a gift box.  I like to create little gifts for those I know who are going through a hard time, no matter the reason.  The box can have almost anything.  A lot of times I like to include polished stones or semi-precious stones that have healing attributes.

Quote Stamp:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence, by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face

You must do the thing which think you cannot do —– Eleanor Roosevelt “

Yasutomo/Niji Supplies:

Niji Splash Inks

Niji Pearlescent Watercolors

Permawriter – Black 

Gel Extreme Pens – Pastel

Nori Paste

Niji Water Brush

Calligraphy Bamboo  Brush

Oval Shaped Palette

Other Products:

140 lb Cold Press Watercolor Paper

Accents as You Wish

niji oct 16 j mixing magenta pink

Mix up colors of Splash Inks in your palette.  For the light magenta, I added water to a few drops of Magenta color.  Use the guide in the package to find the exact color pink/magenta you want.  The card tells you EXACTLY how much water and what color inks you need.  Easy as adding drops to the palette.

niji oct 16 i drying between

Between layers of color and shades, use a stamping heat setting tool to dry your watercolor paper.  Turn paper over too, helps to keep away too much buckling of the paper.

niji oct 16 h mixing into the magenta

Mixing more color.

niji oct 16 g gell extreme

After the quote painting dries.  I used the white Gel Extreme pen to “pop” the white in the eyeballs in the word “look.”  I also didn’t like how dark a letter was, so I used the white to clear the color and then went back in with a lighter color.  Works well.  A couple other colors from the Gel Extreme Pastel Set, helps make a couple of the boxed letters “pop’ as well.

niji oct 16 f bamboo brushes

Splash Inks are used to paint the basic colors of the other image piece.  I mixed both yellow and pink stars, pink = breast cancer ribbon color.  The yellow stars are slightly shaded with orange.  While I use the Water brush, I also use the calligraphy brush.  The next photo will show you that I am also using the Pearlescent watercolors, so the Calligraphy brush works great as well.  Go back and forth between both brushes as needed.

niji oct 16 e water pen pearlescent

The finished project photo and this one doesn’t show the Pearlescent color.  I used the Pearlescent watercolors on the face and hair.  I was able to achieve the shading  in the face and hair.  See that yummy taupe color on the Pearlescent palette?  It is perfect for the face.

Notice:  I used the white Extreme Gel pen again to highlight the lips.

niji oct 16 a

Close up of the face.   On areas where the black ink has dulled in the stamped image, I used the Permawriter to sharpen the black.

niji oct 16 d permawriter

Accents of flowers and hearts (painted with Splash Inks) are added for a finished look.

Remember those who have chronic illnesses, give some love, a gift, or positive thoughts to those in need!

For more information or to order these products, please go to

Cre8tively Yours – Lea

Lea is a current member of the Niji Creative Collective Design Team

Purrfectly Paper Doll

cat paperdoll

October brings out the kid in me. I love the falling leaves, the cooler weather, and all things Halloween. I can’t wait to decorate with tacky Halloween decorations, buy mounds of candy for the neighborhood children, and help my own children create their costumes. In my excitement for the season, I decided to create a black cat paper doll set including some festive Halloween costumes.

Supplies I Used:

Step 1: With the pencil, draw a paper doll body on the cardstock. I chose to make a cat. Just for fun, I created a calico cat who is wearing a black cat suit. Go over the pencil drawing with the permanent black marker.

cat drawing

Step 2: Paint any large black areas with the ultra black ink.

cat painted with ink

Step 3: Paint color details with the watercolor paints and use the metallic pens for any accents. I used the silver pen to make the zipper on the black cat suit.

cat with painted face

Step 4: Place the deli paper over the paper doll and use a pencil to create clothing items that will fit the paper doll body. Move the deli paper off the cat drawing and use the black permanent marker to trace over the pencil lines. Use Nori paste to adhere the deli paper to cardstock. Once dry, cut the pattern pieces.

cat costume pattern pieces

Step 5: Trace the patterns onto decorative origami papers and cut.

Step 6: Use Nori paste to adhere the origami papers to cardstock. Outline each piece with the black permanent marker. Remember to add tabs to the pieces so that you can attach them to the paper doll. Cut the pieces. Add accents with metallic gel pens.

go-go suit

Step 7: To create fairy wings, paint deli paper with metallic watercolors. Add sparkle with metallic gel pens. Cut two wing shapes. Glue or machine stitch the wing shapes to the wing piece. To create straps, cut small strips and glue them to the top and bottom of the wing piece.

Step 8: To create a fairy tu-tu, paint two rectangular pieces of deli paper with metallic watercolors. Add dots with the metallic gel pen. Match the long edges of the rectangles and baste a single stitch across the top. Carefully pull the threads to gather the paper. Use Nori paste to glue the tu-tu to the body suit.

metallic painted pieces

fairy suit

Step 9: For a fancy mermaid tail, paint a sheet of deli paper with metallic watercolors. Cut a small strip of the deli paper (about 6″ x 1/2″). Accordion-fold the strip and cut a fish scale shape. When you unfold the strip, you will have a row of fish scales. Continue making these fish scale rows, as you’ll need quite a few to fill up the tail! Layer the scales onto the tail using Nori paste.

gold deli paper


Step 10: Carefully cut the paper doll.

cat in cat suit

Step 11: Enjoy your new paper doll set!


cat a go go

Cat Fairy:


And my favorite… Mercat!

cat mermaid

You can use paper dolls in so many unique ways. Create fun displays in frames, arrange them on your mantel, or use them in a garland by hanging the pieces onto twine using tiny clothespins. Once you get started, you’ll discover your own way to play!