As a calligrapher and lettering artist (and hopeless, perpetual doodler), I go through sketchbooks pretty fast. I buy them several at a time when they go on sale and just switch out when I can’t find a blank corner in my latest one. Since I think of them as little process diaries that I love to refer back to, it’s fun to give them each their own royal treatment: cover art, the works!
Today I’ll show you how to create your own “Love Letters” cover art for a journal or sketchbook, but this would work just as well on a canvas as a piece of wall art, too!
I can’t get enough of the new DecoArt Mixed Media line because of how easy it makes multi-faceted projects. All the different elements play really well together, so I was able to create this crazy explosion of color and texture for my latest sketchbook using just a few supplies!
DIY Mixed Media Sketchbook Cover – Love Letters
- Foam brushes
- Printouts of an old love letter and vintage photo for collaging
- DecoArt Media Matte Medium
- DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Hansa Yellow Light, Cobalt Blue Hue, and Blue Interference
- DecoArt Media Shimmer Misters in White and Turqouise
- DecoArt Media Liquid Glass in Clear
Thanks to DecoArt for partnering with me for this project. You can get the supplies I used here at select JoAnn Fabric stores, JoAnn.com, or on the DecoArt website.
1. Paint the cover of your sketchbook with a couple coats of white to give you a neutral base. It doesn’t need to be perfect, so don’t worry if a bit peeks through still!
2. Tear your collage pieces, rather than cutting them. Just roughly rip away all the bordering paper.
3. Use a foam brush to paint a generous coat of matte medium onto the back of the collage pieces. Stick them to the sketchbook cover, and then paint over the tops completely with another generous coat of matte medium to seal them on.
3. Squeeze a couple drops of Cobalt Blue Fluid Acrylics and one slow squirt of Turquoise Shimmer Mister onto a palette (or piece of foil, as the case may be!). Use a small paintbrush to pick up some color and dab on a random pattern of marks, concentrating them heavily in the upper left corner. Alternate between blue colors. Don’t rinse your brush in between. That way, you’ll start to get really nice blends of the two blues.
4. Before the blues dry, spray a generous amount of White Shimmer Mister over the top left corner. Immediately go in with a clean, damp foam brush to start blending the white shimmer and the blue tones so that you get a bit of a gradient.
5. Using a drop of Hansa Yellow Light Fluid Acrylics, brush over random bits of text and the photo. It gives a happy pop of color to contrast all the blue, and it acts as a highlighter of sorts, drawing the eye to key areas. I highlighted the couple holding hands and a few key phrases.
6. This step is hard to see from the photo, but it’s a beautiful, beautiful effect in person! Brush Blue Interference Fluid Acrylics over random blue dots/spots, and you can also add it over some of the yellow. It’s an iridescent finish that gives the paint a different, shiny color that changes depending on which way you’re looking at it, and it’s just gorgeous!
7. I’m a texture-junkie, so I couldn’t stop there… I squeezed small drops of Clear Liquid Glass randomly all over the cover beneath the blue dots and around the collage pieces so that it almost looks like it’s rainy from a smudgy blue sky! The Liquid Glass goes on whiteish but dries crystal clear, so it looks like dewdrops sitting on the surface.
Not pictured: I added “write it down” in watercolor calligraphy and let it bleed out a bit over the painted surface. It is, after all, my lettering sketchbook! :)