GIVEAWAY! Art Journal Summer School 2016

The most colourful & creative summer course is BACK! Art Journal Summer School is running for another year and I’m so happy to be part of the teacher lineup again!


You can register your spot at the super Early Bird Price right now (price reverts to normal after 31 May). Go to:

The course starts on 1 July and I’ve been working hard on my lesson which is going to be all about Expressive & Raw Art Journaling

There are so many reasons I absolutely love this course, but here are some main ones (and I hope they get you excited too!)

Reasons to love AJSS

  • All lessons are bite-sized (12-20 mins per lesson)
  • 21 super fun tutorial video lessons with PDFs
  • Limited supply list that fits into a toiletry bag
  • Perfect for taking on holiday or into the garden with you
  • Suitable for all levels
  • Super inspiring and diverse lineup of 14 teachers
  • Fully downloadable (including a handy download pack of all lessons)

If you’d like a sneak peek of the lessons & teachers then have a look at this short video:

Limited Supplies

As before all the supplies fit into a toiletry bag so you won’t be lugging around your whole art supply collection (who has ever packed too many art supplies when going on holiday… it’s so hard to choose… *raises hand*)


Download the supply list here

What’s New?

Apart from the unique new lineup of teachers, what’s also new this year is that all lessons include a printable PDF (mine is super pretty and shows everything step-by-step!) AND you will be able to download a handy pack of all lesson materials in one go. So basically you’ll only need internet access ONCE, and then you can load up your iPad/laptop/etc and go to the remotest corner of the earth (or you know, the bottom of your garden or something) and do all the lessons.

We had SO much fun last year and I really hope you will join us (again) this year!


I’m super excited to be able to give away one spot on Art Journal Summer School!

To enter please:

This giveaway is now CLOSED and the winner has been notified. Thank you to everyone who entered. Please feel free to take a scroll through all the super helpful comments in which everyone shared their favourite supplies to take on holiday/vacation!

PS If you register for Art Journal Summer School through my link you are supporting me to keep bringing you awesome (free) content & courses. Yay you!

‘Let Go’ New Inspirational Art Video

Art Video Let Go by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

I’ve been so busy this past month creating my new course Abstract Watercolour Flowers. Now that most of the work is done I can come back to making some different art again. I’m rediscovering my love for mixed media art journaling and journaling for expression and to work through some feels.

Sometimes I feel guilty for having so many art supplies that I don’t really use… A big one of these is Dylusions ink sprays. I have about 10 different colours! I love their vibrant colours, but I always find them sooo tricky to work with because they seep through the pages and show up through any subsequent layers. But…. I also like a challenge and I’m always going on about letting go and the process being more important than the result…. so I decided to embrace the sprays and let them do their thing!

In this time-lapse art video you can see me create an art journal spread using acrylic paints, Dylusions sprays and watercolours. Hope you enjoy!

Here is the final piece:

Let Go - art journal spread by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Here are two more pieces that I made with similar techniques:

Oh No Not Me - art journal spread by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Think - art journal spread by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

It feels so good to come back to a bit of expressive & raw art journaling! Hope you found this inspiring and it will help you with your art journaling journey!

GIVEAWAY! ArtistCellar stencil set & new art video



Miriam Gault

Congratulations Miriam!!! You have been contacted to claim your prize of this set of awesome stencils. Thank you to everyone for entering, your wonderful ideas on how to use these stencils (I’m feeling super inspired, I hope you are too!) and your enthousiastic response to my video. You rock!

The winner was randomly picked from all qualifying entries

It’s time for a giveaway!!! WOOHOO! Have you heard of ArtistCellar? They make awesome stencils which I’ve been using for years. I’m a total fan! Their quality is superb (much more sturdy than some other stencils I’ve used) and they have lots of appealing designs to choose from. Best of all?!! I get to give a set away to one of you lucky visitors!

Watch This Inspirational Art Video

You can often see me use these babies in my videos and classes. If you’d like to see what I did with this specific series of stencils I’m giving away (Cathedral Plan series, beautiful large stencils size 8.5 x 11), please watch the short art journaling inspiration video below! (Best enjoyed by turning up the music & watching in HD!)

Link to YouTube:

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Art Journaling with Artistcellar Stencils & Watercolours by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Love how you can make really individual and striking art with such simple supplies.

Art supplies I used:

Enter To Win

Now is your chance to WIN a free set of Cathedral Plan stencils by ArtistCellar!

All you have to do is:

1. ensure you are signed up to my newsletter
2. leave a comment below telling me how you would use these stencils
3. BONUS ENTRIES for extra chances to win, SHARE this post on your social media (Twitter, Facebook etc)

Good luck! Can’t wait to read your answers!

A winner will be picked & contacted by 21 April.

Start To Finish – Raven – Mixed Media Painting Walkthrough

Start To Finish is an ongoing series in which I share the progress on a painting from start to finish and I tell you a bit about my process and the different steps. Click here to view all posts in this series.

I’ve seen birds as a theme in a lot of paintings recently, and it inspired me to want to incorporate birds in my own paintings.


I started out by playing on a bunch of canvas boards. Planning to make a cohesive series with a similar starting point, but each painting still being individual and different. I selected an analogous colour scheme (colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel) and just played around. I used a sponge brush, stencils, sprays, drips and splatters.


As usual I start by sketching with my Stabilo All pencil. Each painting in the series will have the silhouette of a bird. This one is a raven.


Using titan buff, Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, magenta and white I put in rough shading.


By using blues in the darker areas of the face I deepen the shading. Mixing in white/titan buff for the highlights makes certain elements come forward. I used a fineline applicator bottle to create the textured hair.


Here she is finished along with her sister ‘Blackbird’.

Instagram Mashup – December 2015 & January 2016


I’ve not made as much art recently as usual, which I think is partly to do with being completely exhausted after creating daily for NaNoJouMo and is also to do with me picking up playing World of Warcraft again. Playing/not playing is a bit of a complex issue for me, but in any case I’ve noticed that I’m feeling much happier generally. When I do sit down (or stand up really, as I create at my easel more and more these days) I’ve been experiencing more joy in creating. I think previously I’d been putting some kind of ‘must’ on myself. Where I felt like I needed to spend any free moment creating art (because otherwise I was ‘not an artist‘), and in doing so I stifled myself and made it into an obligation. What I needed was a plain old hobby!

So reconnecting with my old hobby has also led to a reconnection with art. I’ve had a few sessions recently where I was just SOO in the zone, I couldn’t stop creating. It’s wonderful!

I’ll excuse you if you completely don’t understand the link between a computer game and painting and you think I’m prattling on! Just keep scrolling haha!

Below are some of the things I’ve been working on these past couple of months.

'Emerge' - 12x12" mixed media on wood panel  Emerge is my word of the year that I've chosen to accompany me on my journey during 2016. Really loving how right it feels for me at this time.  Emerging is painful, a slow process. I imagine it kind of like a child being born (from the point of view of the child) or a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. It's also beautiful and meaningful.  2016 is going to be an interesting year for sure.  #intentions #wordoftheyear #mixedmedia #paintingonwood #beabitmoreyou #irisimpressionsart ‘Emerge’ – 12×12″ mixed media on wood panel

I’ve picked ’emerge’ as my word of the year for 2016. Picking a word for the past few years has been so beneficial to me. It feels like emerging is painful, a slow process. I imagine it kind of like a child being born (from the point of view of the child) or a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. It’s also beautiful and meaningful. I’m feeling really excited about this word and concept. I can’t wait to see how this will help me and show up in the coming year.

WIP for owl challenge in my A3 journal  #wip #artjournal #owl #acrylics #mixedmedia #irisimpressionsart #beabitmoreyou Still doing the painting challenges and this one was for the subject ‘owl’. It’s in my A3 journal, nice to work so big. I felt a lot of enthusiasm for this initially but then lost touch with it.

Quick WoW inspired sketch.  #artjournal #sketch #worldofwarcraft #nightelf #irisimpressionsart Quick WoW inspired sketch. I think it’s a night elf from one of the loading screens.

Art time while the husb took the kids out. Loosely inspired by Tamara De Lempicka.  #artjournal #mixedmedia #arteveryday #instaartists #portrait #irisimpressionsart #beabitmoreyou Still getting inspired by Tamara De Lempicka in preparation for my Love Art Happy Life class! (You can still sign up!)

A fun mess!  #rawjournaling #artjournal #mixedmedia #messyart #whimsical #schmincke #artstagram #irisimpressionsart #beabitmoreyou Continuing with raw journaling. This is the type of journaling that currently brings me most joy and clarity. I’m brewing some ideas about a class on this.

Watching Brave on TV (until the kids made us switch channel because it was too scary ) #brave #princess #mixedmedia #artjournaling #painting #irisimpressionsart A bit of couch journaling while watching TV. Inspired by the Disney film Brave.

These #sennelier soft pastels! I'm in love! Best Christmas present ever! #softpastel #mixedmedia #artjournal #portrait #irisimpressionsart I received Sennelier soft pastels for Christmas. They’re SO AMAZING. Such a joy to work with.

Still in progress. Soft pastels, acrylics and tissue paper on wood.  #mixedmedia #portrait #whimsical #ethereal #irisimpressionsart #beabitmoreyou #artoninstagram Soft pastels, acrylics and tissue paper on wood. Still continuing my journey to finding and developing my own style.

De Lempicka inspired work in my #artjournal it's good to be #painting.  #mixedmedia #tamaradelempicka #artinspiration #irisimpressionsart #beabitmoreyou De Lempicka inspired work in my art journal

Start of a new painting.  #mixedmedia #portrait #whimsical #angel #artinspiration #irisimpressionsart #beabitmoreyou I had a funny experience with this one. Initially I was trying to do a study of a da Vinci painting but I just couldn’t get the sketch to look anything like it. It just kept looking SUPER weird and I was getting more and more frustrated. Then I decided to keep the overall shape of the figure, but one by one erase the features (eyes, mouth, nose) and put the features back in an ‘Iris way’ (i.e. my go-to way of drawing those features). WOOHOO!!! All of a sudden I loved where it was going. It’s not finished yet and I’m looking forward to working on this again.

So loving this face. The slight translucency of the oil bars / oil pastels is just yummy. #mixedmedia #oilpastels #portrait #whimsical #irisimpressionsart #artoninstagram So loving this face. The slight translucency of the oil bars / oil pastels is just yummy.

Day 16-30 from NaNoJouMo #15minsnanojoumo

So, confession time: I am so done with NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition! I don’t mean just literally, I mean I’m tired of it, glad it’s over. When I started it was mindblowing, I learned so much, felt completely freed up and discovered lots of things. Then as time went on I felt more and more held back and blocked. I can’t say for sure whether it was the act of doing this challenge, or whether it was for other reasons (I have noticed my art inspiration tends to come and go, it’s not always ‘on’). It was probably a combination.

Now I feel a sense of renewed enthusiasm for my art. As if a part of my mind has been freed up and I have lots of new toys to play with. Having a time limit of 15 minutes really made me stumble across lots of little accidents in terms of technique and a better understanding of what I like doing. I can’t wait to incorporate that into my work. I’m feeling like I want to work BIG now!

Here is a speed video of all 30 pieces.

Below you can see images of day 16-30

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 16 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 17 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 18 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 19 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 20 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 21 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 22 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 23 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 24 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 25 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 26 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 27 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 28 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 29 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 30 |

Start To Finish – Let Me Hold You – Mixed Media Painting Walkthrough

Start To Finish is an ongoing series in which I share the progress on a painting from start to finish and I tell you what I did in each step. Please drop me a line or a comment if you decide to follow along and don’t mind sharing, as I’d love to see! Click here to view all posts in this series.

I’ve joined a group of artists who challenge each other to incorporate certain subjects in their paintings. A new challenge is set up every couple of weeks. It’s so much fun and I can feel it’s pushing me beyond my comfort zones and getting me to take my art further. The first challenge was ‘deer’ and you can see the step-by-step result below. I’ve also created a crow painting and am currently working on one with a fox. If this sounds interesting to you and you’d like to join too send me a private message on Facebook.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting |

I’m working on canvas board. For the background I sprayed the whole canvas with water and then dropped high flow acrylics and acrylic ink on top. I let it swirl and merge into each other, but not too much. I then let the canvas dry for 24 hours. The sketch was done with a Stabilo All pencil and then activated with a water brush. To avoid reactivating the pencil on subsequent layers I sprayed it with a matte varnish.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting |

I used heavy body acrylic paint for the shading of the face. I keep building up the layers until I’m satisfied.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting |

I completed the sketch and added the deer. I used the same process as before, activating the pencil and then using spray varnish to set the pencil.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting |

The deer was also painted with heavy body acrylics including gold paint which looks awesome in real life.

Let Me Hold You | mixed media painting |

I added finishing touches of turquoise paint splatters, bird stamps in the hair and handwritten text on her shoulder.

Do It For Fun, Do It For You


I’ve made 13 short art journal videos in the last 20 days. That’s a reason in itself to celebrate! But what it also gives me the opportunity to do is examine my ways of working, my habits and my reasons. And then to share these insights with you in the hope that you find it useful too!

The thing I’ve noticed most of all from doing a challenge in which I only spend 15 minutes on a page and from recording the process, is that I want art to be easy and fun. That’s also why I’m sharing these videos. The art making is for me, but the video making is to share and give back, because I so appreciate everyone out there who shares their process and helps people like me get inspired, be entertained and get better!

It would be really easy NOT to share these videos of quick pages. After all they’re not masterpieces, nor super in-depth tutorials, but I think the key to what they do have is that they are fun and lighthearted. I want to show that you can make something nice in 15 minutes, that you don’t need to take it too seriously, that it can be beautiful or it can be average.

I think a lot of us feel held back by the thought that whatever we do (and especially whatever we share) needs to be somehow GOOD or MEANINGFUL. We think it has to be WORTHY. And then we attach a load of restrictions on ourselves in terms of what fulfills those criteria. What I’m saying is: it doesn’t have to be any of those things. Let go of the harsh judgements and requirements or the worry of what others may think, and instead do it for fun. Do it because it makes you feel joyful.

In sharing everything I attempt (even the messes and fuckups) I’m hoping that you get inspired to make art too and embrace the joy and let things be what they are. Let’s remove the pressure and let ourselves play!

Also, in case you were wondering, the days in November for which there are no videos are simply because I didn’t have the time or capability to film on those days, not because I’m filtering what I share.

Here are 3 of my favourite videos, and as a bonus the 4th video is the fuckup. Important! I call it a fuckup tongue in cheek. I am not feeling badly or being down on myself, I’m just being humorous because I don’t particularly like that page, but I see it as part of the process and I fully accept it and love it in its own way. I encourage you to do the same with your ‘oopsies’, love them and let go.

Day 19: Smudgy smudgy with oil pastels & oil bar

Day 5: Neocolor II and stenciling fun

Day 9: Drippy drippy inks

Day 12: A weird alien type person, wtf??

Day 1-15 from NaNoJouMo #15minsnanojoumo

NaNoJouMo is in full swing and I’ve been LOVING my own challenge: 15 minutes of speed journaling a day. Lots of people have joined me and are doing this challenge too! You can join in here.

I knew I needed a challenge, but I had no idea how good this challenge was going to be for me and my art. It’s pushing me to work quickly, let go of perfection and trust myself. I expected those things. What I didn’t expect is how it would influence my other art. I’ve found that the freedom and confidence carries over into my other art-making. It’s awesome! I’m so in love with painting right now.

I’ve made short tutorial videos for some of the days, links are below the relevant pictures. I hope you enjoy!

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 1 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 2 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 3 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 4 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 5 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 6 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 7 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 8 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 9 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 10 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 11 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 12 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 13 |

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NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 14 |

NaNoJouMo The 15 Mins Edition | Day 15 |

Quick shoutout to Creations CeeCee who has joined in with lots of enthousiasm and has also been filming her process. Check out her videos here:

Strathmore Softcover Mixed Media Journal – Art Journal Reviews

Strathmore Softcover  Mixed Media Journal

It is not a secret that I love art journals and can never have enough. So in this series I am reviewing all the art journals that I have used over the years. Some are firm favourites that I buy again and again, some have their quirks and some are straight up don’t-buys. Keep reading to find out more about:

Strathmore Softcover Mixed Media Journal

I heard about Strathmore journals a lot in the mixed media scene (I think I first heard Donna Downey mention it in one of her videos), but they’re not available in the UK. Then I realised that I could easily order one from and the shipping wasn’t too bad! I’ve only had this one a few weeks but it’s already become my absolute favourite journal I own! Keep reading to find out why.


Look & Feel

It has a soft floppy cover that feels very nice to touch. It got a bit damaged in transport; it has some grooves pressed into the cover material. I’ve heard other people mention something similar happened to theirs but it doesn’t affect its use at all. It’s 7.75×9.75″ and it feels like an ideal size to me (not so small to be fiddly, but not so big to be intimidating).


The binding is sewn and then glued. This means the pages don’t lie flat when you open it. That’s not ideal, but it’s something I’ve been able to learn to work with. One of the major advantages of this type of binding is that there is no bleeding! So to me it’s pretty much a direct tradeoff (lie flat vs no bleeding).

Strathmore Mixed Media Journal Review |

Paper Quality

The paper is only 90lb/190gsm which sounds ridiculously thin. I normally wouldn’t touch anything that thin, thinking it would definitely not stand up to heavy and wet mixed media use. Surprisingly.. this is some of the best paper I’ve used. It can take quite a bit of abuse before it starts pilling and the pages don’t show any sign of buckling or rolling when you use wet media. The paper feels quite porous and velvety (when you use watercolours they feel like they kind of soak in and fan out a bit) which is a quality I really like.

Strathmore Mixed Media Journal Review |


This is a US journal and easily available over there both online and in stores. I don’t know any shops that stock it in the UK, but as mentioned the international shipping on amazon is very reasonably priced (just select the slowest shipping option & have patience!).


This journal costs around $16. Including shipping to the UK it cost me around £16. Not exactly a bargain, but absolutely worth it for the quality. There are no other journals that I’ve used at this price point that tick so many boxes.

The Verdict

Strathmore do a specific line of paper for mixed media, which is what is used in these mixed media journals. It’s absolutely spot on and this journal is a joy to work in. I’ve dubbed it The Magical Journal! Everything I do in it I enjoy and I love all the paintings I’ve made in it! My only criticism is that the pages don’t lie flat. Next time I will try the hard cover version in the mixed media journal range, as that one does lie flat.

Strathmore Mixed Media Journal Review |

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have reviewed.

If you’ve used Strathmore mixed media journals yourself and would like to share your opinion please do leave a comment below!