Archive for the ‘Art Journal’ Category

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Today I’m going to share my research on alcohol markers. I have seen others get wonderful results with this kind of pen but when I tried to use them some years ago, the fumes from the alcohol gave me such bad headaches, that I gave up on them. The brand I had been using was Letraset Promarkers. That brand is now owned by Winsor and Newton. I have been drawing some chibi style charcters and its going so well that I wanted to give alcohol markers another try, so lets have a look at the options I was looking at.

Typo Markers

Given my poor results in the past I didn’t want to go for a large set straight off. I had an email from WHSmith with 3 for 2 type stuff and had a look at some markers there. Typo was one listed a set of 36 pens for £30. https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/typo-artists-dual-nib-marker-pen-36-pack/9357067236486.html (correct at time of writing 2021) but no mention of what type of nibs they have so off I went to You Tube to find out more. The video I found was

Jasmin O’Grady’s Typo markers vs Copic markers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqkH8PBJWSY

Ohuhu Alcohol Markers

Makers site: Ohuhu https://www.ohuhu.com/ USA site but for the most up to date info check here first. Looks like on their own site there are now individual markers available and a colourless blender.

Buying hints, at the time of writing I found sets of Ohuhu on Amazon UK, not individual pens. (keep an eye on the description on your set of choice, there are different nib options so check carefully to get the nib combination you really want. Some sets are BRUSH and CHISEL others are Fine and chisel.

Review, this video is by DrawingWiffWaffles, called A big bucket of 120 Ohuhu Brush markers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCAG3ctMxKg its a good one as it also has a review of a sketch book by the same brand. Keep an eye on the dates listed on the videos, information correct at time of creation but over time, the range available has changed and what nib types and the makers site in 2021 lists individual pens as now available.

Review, The Fruigal Crafter Lindsay Weirich has a video form 2019 called New Ohuhu Brush tip alcohol Marker and she also describes how to refil them with ink from other brands https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMgfJ2KZIvk

Tutorial for how to blend alcohol markers by Lucid Neema https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbZQFRE8wCk

Alcohol marker comparison, Kasey Golden shows 10 brands of alcohol markers compaired here. title Which alcohol marker is the best, testing 10 brands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OG8RNbUt8c Useful comparison for price, colour (number of colours available) brush nib, refillable, single, availability, swatch, smudge, layer, blend. Products compaired Ohuhu Markers Arrtx Markers Illo Hue Markers Spectrum Noir Markers Artist’s Loft Markers Spectra AD Markers Prismacolor Markers Master’s Touch Markers Winsor & Newton Promarkers Copic Markers Strathmore® Marker Paper.

Copic markers

I didn’t research this in depth, due to the cost, but Im aware that these are loved by many alcohol marker users, so I have included some information here.

Copic official site in Japan https://copic.jp/en/

Where to buy Though they are available in many high street retailers and online art stores too. I link to MAIN makers site as information on blogs n forums and review videos can date and no longer be the current information, so going direct to a makers site, will allow you to find out what is currently true whenever you read this.

ALL about Copic, Here is a 2014 video from Pop Sketcher visiting the Copic marker stand at Comicon. Lots of useful info about choosing paper type based on what you are creating and your style and so much more. MUST SEE Copic markers mega product tour by Pop Sketcher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgMhTvuSLNo This really was a well titled and well made video. Id definately recommend you start here, and then research out from there for what is available in your price budget once you understand all this a little better.

Wow really learnt a lot from that video by Pop Sketcher, I like that Copic’s are from Japan, coz Japan KNOWS ink and paper. I’m gonna have to try these at some point. Ciao are same ink, same nibs as the sketch but just smaller barrels so they are a little cheaper to try out, but the smaller size means you will need to refill them more often. but so much to learn on here. If ur brand new to markers even if you don’t go with this brand, this video is amazing for all the technical info to help you choose and understand the products n numbering system.

Which did I go for?

I have tried Spectrum Noir products before and personally I didn’t love the material used on the nibs, I don’t have the funds for Copics, though Im not ruling out trying a few if I get on ok with others. The cautious within me was very tempted by the Typo but not sure on the nibs on those and felt I would be repeating the not enough colours to blend so well. The ohuhu is very tempting and my inner magpie wants ALL the colours, but sensible me also not wanting a million pens; cost plus storage issues, plus not having tried them before to know how intense the smell will be with these.

So after watching a lot of videos I went back to Amazon for another look round. Then I found a brand I hadn’t remebered as somewhere that did markers, Sationary Island. https://stationeryisland.com/ Now if you read this blog a lot you will know I LOVE their journals, I have lots of their dot grid ones and a plain paper one too. The quality has been amazing.

I had a look on You Tube and the only video review I found on the Stationary Island Alcohol Markers, was from Coby Coxen Marker from April 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AkCumNz9sY

Why did I choose them, firstly as I just said the fantastic quality of their journals, leads me to believe they aren’t gonna put their name on a rubbish product. Also the price, as someone wanting to try this kind of marker out they have just 11 greys for £7.99 and you can really customise which colours you are interested in, with the smaller sets, just skin tones, just the brighter colours, or go all in for the 96. Wish I’d waited till morning. I bought on amazon for £42.99 but on their own site is £34.99 and free delivery over £5. Well there u go, that’s what happens when u research late at night instead of waiting till morning!

Another reason for choosing them is that on Amazon reviews they said they were less smelly than other alcohol marker than the review had from other brands, and for me thats a real big selling point too as I get headaches from the ones I had from Letraset. DOn’t think there is a blender pen in the set so I ordered a Tombow blender pen for alcohol markers and a Ohuhu sketch pad for the paper, because if I have learnt anything with crafting over the years, sometimes its YOU and you need to practice and learn a new skill but it CAN also be about using the right product with the right surface for it.

One last thing, if you are going to use alcohol markers protect the surface UNDER the paper you are working on, Im going to use the teflon sheet that I use for ink blending, its thin and will catch any bleed through to stop it going on the table or the next page on the book. Just know its gonna bleed through to the back of the page you are working on pretty much whatever you do, so if that is gonna bother you, either choose different markers to be ready to paste the next journal page to it to hide that, or glue in some other ‘thing’ to hide it. If you have a look at my video ‘how to make alcoholic baubles, the Ranger Alcohol blending solution will clean up marker residue from glass surface and off the craft sheet. I got my non stick sheet from Lakeland as its same stuff and cheaper on a roll than the art branded ones.

Lakeland magic liner sheet, its non stick so stuff wipes off it and perfect when using alcohol ink place a piece of this under your project to stop the ink bleed through going on your table or the next page in your book. I also use this for papercraft for ink blending with foam with ink applicators works a treatwith this. The one available now is 33cm x 100 cm for 10.99. https://www.lakeland.co.uk/5571/Magic-Reusable-Non-Stick-Baking-Tray-Liner-Sheet-33-x-100cm so you can cut it to any size you need. Its heat resistant so great to use under projects like heat embossing and triple embossing but because HEAT will go THROUGH it, you will want to protect from the heat from your heat gun. When you want to store it either leave it FLAT or ROLL it, don’t fold it or you will break the fibers within it.

Alcoholic Baubles https://billiescraftroom.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/video-tutorial-alcoholic-baubles/


You Tube channel shout outs for videos I’ve linked to in this post.

If you want to know my fave places to buy art supplies check out my

Art tab https://billiescraftroom.wordpress.com/art/

Look for art supplies and retailers https://billiescraftroom.wordpress.com/art/art-supplies-manufacturers/

best wishes and thanks for reading, sorry for lack of pictures but my new markers haven’t arrived yet. So I’ll pop a picture in after they arrive.

Stay safe and make art, or what ever makes you feel softer and safer in times of challenge



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Welcome Back

Do you love to write, and want to get back to pen and paper rather than all those screens? Maybe you want to start a diary, journal, or are looking for a beautiful note books for your ideas or poetry, that novel you always wanted to write. Perhaps u need gift ideas for those in your life who write. Today I’ll share some supplies I love and where to buy them.


Stationary Island

A5 Stationary Island Notebooks
Stationary Island notebooks in A5.

Well, don’t even ask how many journals I have coz I ain’t gonna tell ya 🙄 but I love silky smooth paper and the sort that won’t bleed ink through to the next page. For that reason, my journal of choice is made by a company called Stationary Island. There is a choice of colours, they have dot grid, lined and plain journals, though availbility and colours offered varies. I use this for dot grid type journalling and the plain one for stories and poems.

Stationary Island are sold on Amazon but they also have their own website. https://stationeryisland.com/


A few of my Filofax organisers
Filofax Joy

I am also a fan of Filofax organizers for their versitility. There are many sizes, colours and materials, so you are sure to find something you will like. There are lots of different inserts to choose from to customise it, and you can buy punches so you can create your own pages, so if you want to use your own favorite papers in there you can. This is the UK site but they sell around the world. https://uk.filofax.com/

Here is my previous post about them. https://billiescraftroom.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/journal-joy/

As a total planner girl, (I have dyslexia so unless I write it down, I will forget it) so my Filofax collection means I can dedicate different ones to different parts of my life and know all the info I need is in that one place. I love the versatility that I can make these planners into litterally anything I need them to be, and that can be changed as and when needed.

Papuro Milano

Papuro Milano Journals
Papuro Milano Journals

Another favorite I buy from Amazon and is called Papuro Milano. You can buy paper blocks in plain, lined or address book, if you already have a wrap around cover from them, or want to create your own covers. You can buy them with the leather covers attatched and you can buy them with wrap around covers which the paper blocks slip into, allowing you to change the inside and still have the outer journal looking the same.

I adore the paper in these, not quite as silky as Stationary Island but they are even thicker paper, so no bleed through for pens and a joy to write on. There is a choice of colours and sizes and for these journals. Also available from The Online Pen Company (but I haven’t bought from them myself, no reason, just I didn’t know about them, till I reasearched other stockists for this post.

I use paper blocks from these to write a ‘dear diary’ kind of journal, using an old wrap around cover that is firmer and was from WHSmith from YEARS ago. To brain dump at bedtime and I also have another with the Papuro Milano Italian Leather cover, in the most amazing deep purple, that is in the picture, which is where I write my finished poems.


Paperblanks 'Old Leather' foiled Ultra wrap journal
Paperblanks ‘Old Leather’ foiled Ultra wrap journal in red

Paperblanks https://www.paperblanks.com/en/ and also Peter Pauper Press also have wonderful journals in a variety of sizes all have been exceptional quality and a joy to write in. Like the others in my lists they are available in many different colours and designs and a variety of sizes and formats. I like the ones with the magnetic closures and they are a real treat to write in, the one in the pictures is sewn binding making them last well, so no risk of pages droping out over time as they might with a glued type of binding style.

I am currently using these as grief journals. They are so beautiful and so well made, they are a place of refuge. I adore the Pauro ones I mention earlier but Paperblanks have hardcovers making them easier if you are using them on your lap not just at a table. Available in bookshops as well as their own website as listed.


PIC coming soon, it got too dark to photography! Winter eh!

You might be wondering why this top brand is right down here at the bottom of the list. I do love the silky smoothness of the paper in molies but I need a higher GSM than the classic offers at 70GSM, which is thinner than regular printer paper which is 80gsm (paper weight Grams per Square meter, in USA u work in Lbs for paper weights) but still I have a pet peeve re bleed throughs on molies, so I tend to use them just with pencil.

Where to buy

Finally a shameless list of places I love to go online to look at beautiful stationary.

  • Cult Pens, https://www.cultpens.com/ journals pens, pencils Ohh a stationary junkie’s paradise.
  • All Things Analogue https://allthingsanalogue.co.uk/ (I’m very tempted by the sand timers on there, but being clumsy by nature, haven’t gone for one yet.
  • If you enjoy calligraphy (sadly my hands aren’t up for this anymore) but Scribblers Calligraphy https://scribblers.co.uk/ has some wonderful supplies.
  • Hey Little Magpie https://www.heylittlemagpie.com/ has journals of many kinds, plus pens, washi tape n craft supplies
  • The Online Pen Company https://www.theonlinepencompany.com/ new to me but they also stock the Papuro Journals. (update and so much more, this is a site I need a cup of tea to have a good look around, journals pens and more nice!)
  • Just did a search for Moleskein https://gb.moleskine.com/ if you want an alternative stockist to the high street or Amazon.

Poetry Corner

Well thats it for me, I’m off to try to find a Moleskine for some poetry.

Does anyone know of any poetry forums that aren’t on FB etc? I adore Writers Digest and would be interested in a comunity space in the new year. But wild horses won’t get me on FB and its pals, so something independant in ye olde forum format would be grand.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, would love to hear what journals you love to use and how you use yours.

Stay safe and be kind to each other. I’ll be in the back of the cave hermiting with card decks, crystals n books. Will write again when I can.

Billie x

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HAD to come on and share my experience with Craft Artist Mica Magic because its been THE best mica experience I’ve ever had. They are the Galaxy chocolate of the mica/pastel world. (Please DO NOT eat them!) What sold me on them as a concept was the fact they were cream based so would not need sealing. They had good storage boxes that looked like they would stack, they blended and with various applicators could be good for so many different techniques. I only saw a few minutes of them demo’d on craft tv and I was IN.

I had been considering Jane Davenports powdered pigments but they too would need fixing. Just a heads up, the colours in both of the Craft Artist Mica Magic contain some colours which are pearly and some which are matt. So I was able to use the matt ones in the Autumn set to create skin tones. There is a good range of colours in there, so you could create various and diverse skin tones from this set. Add a set of the Summer ones and you can create so much more for so many projects.

Craft Artist Mica Magic Summer and Autumn

Craft Artist Mica Magic Summer and Autumn

Craft Artist Mica Magic, feel as smooth as melted chocolate and are a joy to use.

Now I’ve been crafting for around 10 years and have tried a few things. I find chalk pastels and pencils gritty and tough to work with. Messy to use, with clouds of dust, not easy to blend and stinky toxic sealants are required to keep them on a finished piece. I have tried various kinds of chalk in pallets before and again been put off by the need to use fixative. As I have a bird in the house, I didn’t even try pan pastels because like the others, they need fixing after use and the chemicals in the fixatives are not good to be around if you are human and for birds are even more toxic. I don’t enjoy using oil pastels because I’ve never got the hang of them. So pastels I have, sit in the cupboard.

NOT so these new Craft Artist Mica Magics. The mica and pigments are ground so fine, it feels nothing like chalk, there is a little powder to them, but used gently, there isn’t any floofing of it as you pick it up from the pallete (so no dust clouds) and very little left after its applied as it blends into the applicator and then the paper surface perfectly.

The Craft Artist Mica magic, feel as smooth as melted chocolate, as you apply them to the paper, its a heavenly experience. They are an absolute joy to use and for the first time, with this kind of product, my mind is just exploding with all the projects I could use them with. I WANT to create more with them, they were not being ‘over sold’ as is sometimes they case, when you see things on tv. This product does do what it says on the tin, and sooo much more. I LOVE them.

I used them on WHSmith Sketch pad with has 135gsm paper weight, is acid free and almost no key ie its very smooth and they adhered and blended beautifully. (Key is the term for a rough surface that dry pigments usually need to grab on to, to adhere the colour to your paper, but would usually need a fixative to be permanent there). I applied Mica Magic to my drawing with Jane Davenport Baton blenders, which are long handled double ended versions of the kind of applicators you might use for eye make up. These have been perfect for fine detail work and as I have minimal dexterity fiddly little matchstick sized sticks would have caused my hands too much pain.

I found that you can remove the powder that gets in the wrong place with a kneedable eraser. Although I’ll dedicate one to only this process, because of the cream content. I was a bit worried about using pen over the top of the mica as it has the creame base and I was worried it might mess up my pen so I inked first and let it dry. I had applied a good few layers of the mica, and in places when it had toned down the blackness of the pen, from a more opaque pigment, I risked just scratching firmly over the inked lines with my nail, and the colour did lift off, so the ink became clear again.

I sketched in pencil, then used a kneedable eraser to remove most of the pencil, went over areas with pen, left that to totally dry for a few days (mainly because the parcel with these in had not yet arrived and I was SO keen to play with them, that I used a sketch I had already started,for Inktober, to use them on).

Here is a close up of the sketch I used them on, this is the first time I’ve used any kind of pastel for this kind of project and I’m delighted with the result. I wasn’t able to get the larger finger bob kind of blenders at the time I got them, but will save up for some that John sells in boxes, as they will be better suited for larger background areas. I have intentionally left white areas in the hair, the pigment goes on perfectly smooth, the light levels are not good today and this computer doesn’t have photoshop to punch up the brightness of this photo.

Craft Artist Mica Magic pigments on Inktober Davy 14 Sketch 2019

Inktober Day 14 2019. Over grown. Coloured with Mica Magic pigments

Are Mica Magic for me?

If you can say yes to any of the following, go for them.

You like the look of pastel, but hate the mess,

You don’t want to use fixatives on your finished piece and want something that is perfect

You don’t have the dexterity for pencils or paints, this is a superb choice especially when partnered with FInger dabubers that sit on the ends of your fingers or with Jane Davenport Batton blenders as they have longer handles.

I highly recommend Craft Artist Mica Magic to everyone. Best art product I’ve tried in a long time.


These mica magic pigments, don’t just look good, they FEEL good too, no that’s an understatement they feel amazing as you apply them to paper. Get some, you really, really need to try these.

I look forward to using these in a variety of creative projects. They seem just so versatile.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie x

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Welcome Back

Ohh sign me up, I love a bit of lettering when my hands allow, do you? I pounced on Lou Collins Brush Lettering set on C&C yesterday and have found more inspiration about this on You Tube n Twitter, so here are some brush lettering artists and links for us to enjoy.

Lou Collins

Ohh I got so excited seeing her brush lettering on C&C yesterday, and went for the big kit, which was a bit daft for me, only in that being dyslexic, means that if letters change too much from how I expect to see them, then I can’t read the words BUT she said once the method has been learnt, then you can apply it to whatever style you like. So I’m in and very excited.

Here are a few places you can find Lou’s lettering.

At the time of writing Create and Craft was the only place where you can purchase her product line.

Extra supplies

I have Tombow Art and Graphic pens and other brush markers by Kuretake Zig to play with, like Clean Color Real Brush pens to do this longer term and watercolours so for once, I’ve got half the kit needed to progress. I hadn’t got on too well in the past when I tried brush lettering because like Lou said on the show, I had also used lots of papers practicing and not getting far because the pens and papers I was using weren’t compatible. I like how her practice sheets are wipe clean so you can practice as much as you like without hitting the trees too hard. I love the watercolour backgrounds and would love to use my watercolours and Lou’s markers to create pieces or journal pages with words or phrases that mean something to me. In later show’s she said her markers are pigment ink so you can emboss them if you wish, it also means once dry, they won’t move so I can add watercolour ‘backgrounds’ after I’ve done lettering 🙂 versatile n great for mixed media pieces then. This is going to be fun. I also invested in the smooth cardstock they had on the show for this and so I can see if it will play nicely with getting back to a little Ranger inky action.

Can’t wait to have a play with this brush lettering idea. I can see me putting a sheet of clear acetate over a calligraphy book I have, to learn more alphabet styles this way too.

The lettering style Lou was showing yesterday reminded me of a stylised version of copperplate which gives the thin thick strokes like this. Lou’s pens look easy to use too, less scary than a bottle of ink and a nib you are scared might snap if you press too hard. The other great thing is that you can do this with minimal supplies so if you want to do this when out and about then a small notebook and a pencil case and you are good to go.

Kelly Creates

Kelly Creates Kelly Klapstein is a Canadian artist, can’t tell you more only just found her and want to investigate this too. but sounds like Art from the heart is where you can soon get her products. Ohh yes just had a quick look, bullet journalling and brush lettering this will be a website that will have me reading for hours. Wish I had ink for the printer. Quick tip, if you want to save money on lamination sheets, lay a sheet of acetate over your print outs so you can reuse them. Don’t have acetate, how about those pockets sold for ringbinders 🙂 long as you are using pigment or waterbased pens they will wash off ok. Kelly has You Tube channel too

Best wishes and thanks for reading



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Welcome Back

This week I’ll show you how to create a feathered texture for your mixed media projects.

Just the beginning, a few samples made after only an afternoon with texture paste!

Just the beginning, a few samples made after only an afternoon with texture paste!


Mixed Media Workshop: Lesson 8 Feather Texture.

How are you getting on? Hope you are enjoying this series and have learnt some new techniques to add to your own skills. Do tell your friends about the series on your favourite social media sites. See you next Wednesday for Lesson 9.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂


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Want to add some dimension to your mixed media projects? Today I’ll share how to create a textured stone effect, perfect for book covers and all kinds of projects.

Mixed media Stone effect with lots of texture and dimension.

Mixed media Stone effect with lots of texture and dimension.


Here we are for Lesson 7 in the Mixed Media workshop. This week Embossed Stone. I love this effect and it’s really easy to create with just a few simple steps and not many supplies.

Hope you have fun with this technique, do leave me a comment and show me any projects you create using it, I’d love to see what you are all making. How are you getting on with this series, are you learning lots of new techniques to take in your own directions?

If you are enjoying this series, do tell others about it, the more the merrier. See you next Wednesday for Lesson 8.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

As Part of Seth Apter’s Buried Treasure project, I’d like to share a tutorial from my mixed media workshop:

How to create this dimensional crackled effect.

Great for all kinds of mixed media projects.

Faux Crackle paint effect. The really EASY way

Faux Crackle paint effect. The really EASY way


I hope you are enjoying this series and will join me next Wednesday for Lesson 7. I’d love to see your projects that you create using these techniques do share them and any questions you have in the comments below.

If you are enjoying this series do tell others on your favourite social media sites.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

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