Thursday, June 28, 2012

Collaged Urban Sketching: Urban Birdscape

Leslie here.  I love the June theme of Urban Sketching!  I tend not to do as much of this when I am in my own space, but this is a constant activity during my travels.  I find that, while traveling, I have a much more vivid set of memories about a specific place if I have taken the time to really "look" at things and draw them.  I can instantly flash back to that place when I open my sketchbook at a later time.

Since I have been home this month I decided to look at my own urban surroundings in the same way I would if I were traveling.  One of my interests in my home environment is the habitat for bird in my garden.  We are experiencing severe heat and drought in South Texas.  Birds have a tough time finding food and water.  Part of my gardening process has always been to cultivate plants and create habitat for birds that provide seeds, shelter, and water.  I created two collages that speak to this  endeavor.

The first collage begins with a page torn from a magazine.  The paper was monoprinted using a gelatin plate (this was done previously and it was languishing in my drawer awaiting this project!).
Using a note mailed to me by a daughter, an old book page, and a tag, I created a nice composition 
over the monoprinted page.  Over this, I screened a thermofax print of a bird I drew, and also used Tsukineko ink through a Julie Balzer stencil to create the "spilled liquid" look on the book page.

I printed a scanned image of an egg onto a piece of TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) and cut it to size.

I positioned the TAP paper, face down, onto the collage surface.

Using my dry iron I stabilized the TAP paper and pressed, moving the iron in small circles
until the image transferred to the paper below.
(You can gently lift one corner and "peek" to see if the image is transferring as long as you use care not to shift the paper).

The image is mostly transferred, and has a transparent appearance that I really like.  I personally like it when there is a bit of a rough edge to the transfer.

Sorry this is turned to the idea why!

Next, I created a collage in a new Smash Journal I just purchased.  I like the idea of this book:  just "smash" this and that into the book and keep layering.  
I used clear gesso for my page prior to adding any collaged elements, drawing, or wet media.
The journal comes with tool that is a pen on one end and a glue stick on the other!  Love this!
Clear gesso is applied to the paper prior to wet media.

First, I glued the book page to the notebook page, then I drew my little Caroline Wren.
I look at this wren just outside my kitchen window.  She comes close to drink water out of the ant trap that hangs above my hummingbird feeder (as does a gecko!).  It is all very entertaining!

I wanted to add just a bit of watercolor to give a bit of color relief to the page.
Also, I used a palette knife and scraped on some white paint for texture over the book page.

I clipped a piece of stenciled "punchinella" into the collage.
I like these alcohol ink pads for stenciling.  I think I might like using this little foam tool for 
my lettering stencils more than just about anything else as the ink dries quickly and doesn't run under the stencil.

This is a cheap set of stencils I picked up from Office Max.
They are small, so I frequently include them in my travel art kit.
Using the alcohol ink pad, I stenciled "urban birdscape" on the edge of the page.
Also seen:  a hand-carved stamp printed on the left edge, and I wrote some thoughts about my urban birdscape over the book page print.

I hope this gives you another method of working in your sketchbook.  Sometimes, a little drawing in a portion of the page is fun and adds interest.  Keep on sketching!


  1. I love the way that you created the page Leslie. And that you used it to speak to a situation in your own life. It really does personalize it that way, doesn't it? Great post!

  2. Love what you've done here Leslie! I just picked up a smash journal the other day myself.

  3. I love it! The layers are great!


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