The Leafy Sea Dancer Art Journal Page

In July, I had the privilege to create a page in Sharon Roger's Seahorses and Mermaids themed journal. This journal is travelling around Australia and each time we all work in a book, we blog about it so everyone can see how each book is going. Its wonderful to see all the beautiful artwork, then one day our own book finds it's way back home and seeing it all in real life is something else.
You can see all the incredible art journals here... Australian Art Journal Swap Blog.
While I've already blogged about this page in the group's blog, I wanted to add info on where to find Mum's beautiful book and where buy supplies in case you'd like to have a go (I just happen to have a shop filled with arty treasure).
Seahorses and Mermaids is a brilliant theme :) I love creating with the gorgeous colours of the ocean. My clever Dad used to cut out amazing shapes by hand on his scrollsaw and his leafy seadragon is perfect for this occasion.
Searching for a quote, I remembered Mum had published her book in black and white as well as colour... and given that we'd coloured in part of this book, I didn't feel bad using one of its pages to take advantage of its swirly writing style. I don't like cutting up books!
The Leafy Sea Dancer was written, illustrated and published by my Mum. I have clever parents :D
Link to Mum's Lulu storeElizaJay's Bookshop
There are two versions published - one black and white (black cover, shown above) and one full colour (blue cover).
The page in Sharon's journal has a flap. At this point, I didn't know what I was going to do, apart from use my fave colours and leafy seadragons!
This book has been made using watercolour paper and the inks blended so well. If you don't have watercolour paper (as a pad, sheets or a journal), ensure you prime the surface with gesso before you begin (and let it dry). Gesso allows the inks to blend rather than just soaking into the surface.

I sprayed the page in the 3 Distress inks and splattered it with water. I thought I took a pic of that but its not there... It was such a gorgeous mermaid blue green mix of splatters!
I smeared the whole page with Ranger's Texture Paste in Translucent Gloss, thinking of making it swirly wavy textures. But it ended up smooshed like this instead.
I'm learning to let the art do what it wants, usually its right. The times I "argue" and keep trying to do what I want, it turns into a disaster! lol :)

While the texture paste was wet, I pressed bubblewrap over it all... then used the bottom of a reinker bottle and pressed out those bigger bubbles.

Then I dropped on Distress Dry Glitter in tiny mounds and light sprinkles... can't really see it in the photos, but its super sparkly and shiny!
The splatters of limey yellow and dark blue are from dripping Distress Oxide Ink from the Reinkers. I started this one drip at a time, then shook the bottle like a salt shaker :) Amazing effects took place, depending whether it touched wet texture paste or dry glitter.

Waiting for art to dry isn't easy sometimes... but thankfully the seadragons needed some attention!
Here they are after being splattered with Distress Oxide Reinkers in Twisted Citron, Peacock Feathers and Salty Ocean, then misted with water to encourage the ink to blend.
The scrap paper they're lying on was going to become seaweed but didn't end up being used.

Dried seadragons were edged with Ground Espresso Distress Ink (ink pad and blending tool) then added highlights using watercolour markers (Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers in Beach and Pirate's Gold - peach and yellow). I used white and black Sharpies for the spots and eyes.

Closeup photo of the groovy texture paste after it dried. When the Ranger Gloss Translucent Texture Paste is wet, its has a milky appearance but it dries beautifully - the gloss is super shiny and the colours jump off the page!
This pic reminds me of algae and seaweed :) Loving these colours!

The seadragons were glued to the page using Glossy Accents... the seadragons themselves are only a little bit sparkly, thanks to my un-precise glueing but I did add a few swishes using my Wink of Stella pen in Clear Shimmer (iridescent brush pen).
In real life, the seadragons appear lifted off the page, yet when photographed above, all the colours appear to be blended together. The closeup photo is a better indication of how it looked before I added the Stella to the ends of the seadragon's leaves :)

Leafy seadragons are such gorgeous, magical creatures! They're found in a few places around the world, one being along the coastline of South Australia, offshore from Normanville and Carrickalinga.

This is the wording I used is from the actual page from the book. Mum made the text in her book appear to be waving and bending over the pages :) The illuminated letter of the G was drawn by Mum too and was the original design for the Dad's shape.

"Gracefully swaying without need for speed, are creatures of beauty disguised as seaweed."
by JE James
Supplies List...
Art Journal or Paper - watercolour, hot or cold press
Dina Wakley Gesso - clear, white or black
Liquitex Gesso - clear or white
Tim Holtz Distress Ink Spray - Mermaid Lagoon, Twisted Citron and Cracked Pistachio
Ranger Texture Paste Translucent Gloss
Tim Holtz Distress Dry Glitter
Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Reinker - Twisted Citron, Peacock Feathers and Salty Ocean
Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers
Black Waterbased Sharpie Paint Pen
White Waterbased Sharpie Paint Pen
Wink of Stella Clear Shimmer Brush Pen
Distress Ink Pad - Ground Espresso
Ranger Ink Blending Tool - round foam
Ranger Glossy Accents
Dina Wakley Plastic Spatula
Tim Holtz Spray Bottle
Bubblewrap - FREE with nearly every purchase!
Everything is available at Art by Jenny
The following are available by request ...
The Leafy Sea Dancer by JE James
Woodn Marbles Leafy Seadragon Handcut Shapes - watercolour paper or chipboard
Back to blog