An Urban Tapestry

This art journal page was created inside a friend's book as part of a swap for the Australian Art Journal Swap group using the theme, Nature. 

finished and cropped to a square, the artwork by Jenny James
I've created my art journal page using a sheet of beautiful rice paper from Stamperia featuring two hands inspired by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. Together with Tim Holtz rubber stamps and Idea-Ology Collage Paper, I've grown a wild urban tapestry filled with tiny creatures.

- all arty treasures used are available at the 'Art by Jenny' online shop -

How to create layers with tissue...

using Ranger gel matte multi medium to glue down Stamperia Printed Rice Paper
Working inside the small Dylusions Mixed Media Journal, I trimmed the Stamperia Rice Paper Sheet to size and glued it down with a gel matte medium using my trusty flat wide paintbrush.

overview of gesso white wash over the Stamperia rice paper print
Once the gel medium was dry, I mixed a small puddle of watered down white gesso to use as a wash over the background areas of the rice paper to calm down the contrast of the printed words.

Tim Holtz Stamps called Urban Tapestry printed onto tissue paper using Archival Ink

For this page, I thought I'd have a play with Tim Holtz's White Collage Tissue Paper using Ranger's black Archival Ink and a few favourite stamps. The idea was that the paper would disappear into the background and leave the printed image behind.

The birds, quote and grunge spatters are all from the Tim Holtz Stamp Set "Urban Tapestry". I love the typographic style of this quote. It says :
"The creative is the place where noone else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and venture into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there any other way, only by taking risks and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself."
closeup of the printed tissue being enhanced with white Prismacolor pencil
After stamping onto the tissue, heat setting the ink and trimming to size, I then coloured some areas on the back with white pencil. The white would help the reversed and outlined words show clearer on the background.
Gesso would do the same thing but pencil doesn't crinkle up the paper or need drying time.

adhering printed tissue onto the Stamperia Michelangelo Rice Paper background
I used matte gel medium to glue down everything, both under the tissue and over it to seal all the edges.

stamping Tim Holtz birds and branches onto tissue paper with Archival Ink
The birds were also stamped onto tissue paper and heat set before being trimmed and glued down with the gel matte medium.

overview of stamped branches - art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
All the branches were stamped straight onto the page with black Archival ink after the birds were dry.

closeup of a bird - art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
Above is a closeup of how the tissue paper blends into the background. Sometimes. If you're not looking for it, you can't see it...! lol :) Still a fab technique for collage when you don't feel like cutting around every single feather, beak and foot.

Colour was applied to the birds using watercolour pencil (red and brown) and a waterbrush.
Being a translucent tissue, I was able to flip one of the birds to face the other way (perched on the hand facing left) without losing too much detail. Then coloured over him with black pencil to give his feathers more definition and darken the image.

creating the background of the page using Tim Holtz Stamps
The birds needed something to hang around with, so I stamped more branches in the black Archival Ink, then some spatters of grunginess in black and stonewalling in brown (Tim's background stamp "Slate and Stone").
The brown Archival Ink was only applied to small sections of the stone background stamp and pressed onto the page without an acrylic block, to give it a more rustic appearance.

art journal page by Jenny James featuring birds and insects from Tim Holtz Stamps
Black Archival Ink was used for all the beetles and ants from Tim's stamp set "Entomology". They're crawling all over the place!
I coloured the beetles and some of the ants with brown watercolour pencil then once dry, I drew on the white highlights and gave them a covering of Ranger's crackle medium.

closeup of wet paint - art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
The bees were stamped onto tissue paper using the black Archival ink, dried with the heat tool and then had their bodies coloured with yellow pencil on the back of the paper.
After being glued onto the page with gel matte medium, I painted their wings with an iridescent medium to make them shimmer.
Their black stripes were enhanced using black pen and highlights drawn on with white gel pen.

closeup of an ant - art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
Above is a closeup of an ant after the crackle medium had dried. The quote was made into a wallhanging with nails drawn on with black pen and brown pencil.

finished mixed media art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
Lastly, I blended in a tiny smattering of blue ink around some of the edges of both pages.

Thanks for reading my blog post. Hope it helps you smile and inspires you to make time for arts, crafts and creativity! Enjoy every moment :)

Happy Creative Day!