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 – Introduction & Verse – 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 was commissioned recently to create a painting in my whimsical style and I thought it’d be fun to show you all how this painting evolved and give you a peek into my process!

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

This is a 16×16″ (approx 40x40cm) wooden panel with 5cm deep sides. It was lovely working on a professional artist grade panel like this. I knew I wanted to leave the sides unpainted so I completely covered them in low tack tape to protect them. For this first layer I adhered music paper, tissue paper (Tim Holtz) and napkins with gel matte medium.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

I added some heavy body white acrylics and fluorescent ink.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

More colours of fluorescent ink, dripping & splattering. At this point I hadn’t decided yet on a right way up and I turned the painting around many times while working. I dried the paint thoroughly in between layers to ensure the brightness of the colours.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

I went in with paints, mostly Golden fluid acrylics applied with my fingers.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

I wanted to paint a river, which started out as black handprints and then painted over thickly with heavy body acrylics applied with a palette knife. I also sketched the first outline for the face with a black Stabilo All pencil.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

In this step I activated the pencil. I also decided I really didn’t like the thickly applied paint from the river nor the colour, so I wiped a lot of it off and applied blues and whites with a brush.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

First layer of skintone and I decided to push the background back a little bit by adding neutral colours.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Added deeper shading to the face and brought back some drips over the top of the right side to integrate the ‘river’ more into the painting.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Deeper shading still by adding dark blues.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Folded a boat out of music paper and distressed it with a stamp pad (Tim Holtz Vintage Photo). The sail was created by applying modeling paste.

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

Added music notes to the hair and grunged up the edges by glazing with brown paint.

Here she is the finished painting, ‘Introduction & Verse’ mixed media on 16×16″ wood panel

Introduction & Verse - painting walkthrough by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

In the final steps I brought more even planes of colour into the background to tie it all together. I also added white so the main subjects (girl, river & boat) stood out more against the background.

Tips For Mixing Your Media

Tips For Mixing Your Media

I love mixed media! I’m a mixed media artist! But what does this term ‘mixed media’ really mean? And how do you apply it practically when making art? Keep reading for insights and tips about the how, why and what of mixed media art.

What Is Mixed Media?

Traditionally artists would work in one medium. For example oil paint, egg tempera or collage. Mixed media simply means using any of the above and more but in ONE piece.

Rules? I Don’t Want No Stinking Rules!

One misconception I come across a lot is that mixed media is supposed to have a certain look or style. This is not true. Mixed media comes into existence automatically when you use more than one medium. You’re totally free to do whatever you want!

Then again, being totally free without any ‘rules’ can be rather scary when you’re just getting started.

Mixed Media Tips

Start simple.

Because you have ALL THE SUPPLIES to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and turn your work into a ‘wtf did I do?’ mess. I wholeheartedly recommend making big messes, but I do want to help you avoid overwhelm, because that feeling is not fun. When you’re getting started pick two things you want to work with primarily on a piece. Keep going with those until you feel compelled to use something else (or maybe you never do, that is fine too!).

Here are some combos to get you started:
-collage papers & acrylic paint
-watercolours & coloured pencils
-watersoluble crayons & stamps

Find out what works (for you!).

Part of this is trial and error and simply trying things (without getting too attached to the outcome). There are certain materials that work well together, and other materials that when used in combination make you tear your hair out!

Here are some tips & common pitfalls to avoid:
-beware of clogging your paint pen tips when working on top of watersoluble crayons
-you CAN mix oil and acrylic, but it’s best to leave the oil based media for the final layers.
-to maintain bright colours and avoid making a muddy mess, ensure you dry your work in between layers
-think outside the box when it comes to application. Sometimes it’s much nicer to use your fingers than a brush. How about a brayer?
-if you want to work on top of your acrylics with pencils, it is helpful to use matte acrylics rather than the more shiny ones (as they dry quite plasticy)
-be aware of media that react/re-activate when wet (e.g. Dylusions sprays, certain inks, watercolours), if you work on top of them you might want to use spray varnish first to avoid things such as green faces (tip suggested by Amber Button)


Let me introduce you to a bit of magic! Gesso is a primer. That means it prepares the surface for whatever you decide to put on top of it. Mixed media work tends to be either wet or heavy, or both. A lot of paper doesn’t stand up to this very well (especially if you like working in journals or altered books), so adding a layer of gesso can really help make your paper suitable.

White gesso is a great primer for using before you start. Clear gesso is awesome for in-between layers if you want to protect a previous layer and create a more workable layer to keep going on top of. For example clear gesso after a layer of collage can help you be able to continue with coloured pencils or crayons.


Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mixed media! There are so many possibilities and so many ways of expressing yourself. I’d love to know your favourite ways of mixing your media, please leave a comment below!

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’.

How to set up your art space for mixed media and art journaling


My top 5 tips for organizing your art space and having a great setup. Watch the short video below or read the transcript underneath.

Tip 1. A Tidy Start

Clutter kills creativity. OK maybe not, but a clutter of art supplies when I start makes me feel overwhelmed with too many choices. A clean desk means I can start with a sense of calm and go from there.

Tip 2. Workspace Aplenty

I’m sure lots of you can relate to having only a small space to work in. It’s important to have more surface than just what you need for your journal or substrate. That way you can have the materials you’re working with around you. Set up a foldable table if possible.

Tip 3. Get Organized

Everything should have its own place. It will help you find this quickly and also makes tidying up much easier.

Tip 4. Quick Access

When it’s hidden away, I don’t use it and forget I have it. All my favourite art supplies are within arms reach and visible. That way I can quickly grab what I need without having to get up. It really helps me stay in the creative flow.

Tip 5. Get Rid Of It!

If you don’t use it, lose it! It clutters up your art space and makes you feel like you ‘should’ use it. If you don’t use or enjoy certain supplies, get rid of them (Freecycle, charity shop, arty friends) and make space for things you DO like.

How To Price Your Art?

How To Price Your Art? | article with tips & advice |

It’s a simple question, but there seems to be no clean cut answer. Let’s face it, pricing your art is difficult, it’s an emotional subject, it might trigger lots of doubts & insecurities and all the opinions out there might not actually help you come to a conclusion or more importantly: your price.

When figuring out the price of your work there are two considerations: practical pricing aspects & emotional pricing aspects. I’ve also included a bonus section on how not to price your art.

Practical Pricing Aspects

There are a few techniques you can use and things to consider when trying to work out a price.

Your Materials what are the costs of the things you used up in making the art? Think of all materials including paints/other media, embellishments/objects, varnish, substrate, framing if applicable.

Your Time is there a minimum charge per hour that you want/need to get paid? Almost any job has an hourly rate. Having a think about what yours is will help you not undervalue your painting. e.g. if you spend 6 hours on a painting and charge £$€50 (whatever your currency is), you will be getting paid £$€8.33 per hour. Is that enough, or not?

Price For Size a handy starting point to arrive at a figure for differently sized work is working out a price per square inch. Start with £$€1. That means a 12×12″ work is £$€144. Work backwards thinking of your materials & your time. Is it enough or does it need adjusting? Try increasing it by 0.5 increments. As the popularity, collectability and skill of your work increases you might increase the overall price.

Consistency it is helpful if you price your work with some semblance of consistency. Pricing one piece at £$€50 and another similarly sized one for £$€500 doesn’t make sense and may affect your integrity.

Emotional Pricing Aspects

Uncomfortable the right price usually makes you slightly uncomfortable. It can trigger your feelings of not feeling good or worthy. But better to price at a level where you feel appreciated, than a price where you feel comfortable but then when you sell you feel resentful. I have found that letting go of a piece of art is always hard, but when the price is right it’s easier because it feels like a beautiful exchange rather than the feeling of ‘losing’ something.

Your Wish what is the amount you would LOVE to get paid for this? Not the amount you ‘think people will pay’. Not the amount you ‘think it is worth’. What is the amount you need to feel completely and utterly valued? That’s your price.

Fear Of What Other People Think what if people laugh? What if people think ‘who does s/he think s/he is’? What if they think it’s insanely expensive? Or cheap and therefore rubbish? That says something about them, not about you. It is not your job to predetermine what other people will think. It is only your job to put your art out into the world. You can’t know in advance whether other people find a price worth it, or expensive, or cheap. Chances are all these opinions will exist, but they are not your client, your client is the one who wants your art and is happy to pay your price (or save up for it, or buy a print instead).

Your Audience people don’t tend to buy art the way they buy a microwave or jeans (e.g. I need a new microwave/jeans, this is my budget and now I’m going to shop around until I find the thing that best suits my needs). No one buys art because they need it, they buy it because they want it. When someone buys your art it’s usually because they want your art. You build up a connection with your audience, your collectors, your tribe. Those are the people who will buy from you. By building up this group of people you will also ensure they value your work.

How NOT To Price Your Art

Common pitfalls and ways in which we tend to undervalue or mis-price our art.

Charging what someone else charges you’re comparing apples with pears. Trying to deduce the value of your art by looking at other people’s prices will never give you the answer.

Undercutting pricing slightly cheaper than others in order to sell your product might work for TVs or pints of milk, but if you do it with your art you’re undervaluing it and misunderstanding its place in the world

Competing with mass production this comes back to the point above about building up your audience so people want and buy your art because it’s yours. People will never value your art if you see it as something that has to compete with a mass produced canvas from IKEA.

Asking a friend/family member what they’d pay this one is so tempting!! But they are not your audience! Avoid this one if you want to keep your sanity and loving relationships.

I hope that has given you some things to think about in order to price your art confidently! I’d love to know what you thought and if you have any tips, let me know in the comments below!

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??

Start To Finish – Blood Elf Mage Fan Art – Art Journal Page 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.

You might not know this about me but for years I was an avid World of Warcraft player (and a Warcraft player before that.. I actually started with the original Wacraft back in the 90s). These days I don’t play anymore due to time constraints. I do miss it a lot though so I content myself with listening to the soundtracks and doing a bit of fan art.

I mostly used to play Alliance although when blood elves became available to play I did level both a priest and a paladin. This painting is of a blood elf mage, inspired by one of the TCG cards.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 1 |

I’m working in my Strathmore mixed media journal which is fast becoming my favourite at the moment. I started by brayering two different colours blue over the spread. I then added some black to the edges and spots of pink in certain places. I’m using a combination of Golden heavy body and Americana craft paint. My cat decided that she needed to get in on the action here.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 2 |

I used a white Stabilo All pencil for the initial sketch. When working on top of acrylics the white pencil can be worked into the painting, or you can erase it or activate with some water and wipe off. This makes it very forgiving and flexible to work with.

I went in with an initial layer of colour on the skin in tones of blue. I used a dark blue and white gesso. I always planned to add a skintone later but I actually really liked this effect! I might do a painting at another point that uses shading in blues. Working in a monochromatic colour scheme is actually really helpful to practice shading and see whether you’re getting it right.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 3 |

Using the blue tones on the skin as a guide I started putting in skintones with acrylic paint. It was important to me to pay close attention to the shading and make it look semi realistic.

Blood Elf Mage World of Warcraft Fan Art | Mixed Media Painting Stage 4 |

Eek, hands! Hands are difficult, but I allowed myself to just keep it simple and not obsess over them. Simple shading gives you the idea that they are hands, but the attention is drawn to the face & dress.

For the dress I started out with a first layer of blue and then I mixed several dark purples on top. It’s a good idea to use subtly different colours and work with highlights and shading on clothes as well as the face to give that sense of depth and interest.

When you’re in the final finishing steps of a painting it can be really helpful to take a picture. Sometimes certain mistakes are really obvious on a picture while you don’t see them when you look at the original.

Start To Finish – Rabbit Wants To Be A Cat – Art Journal Page 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 haven’t done one of these in a while, as usually I forget to take pictures while I’m working (it kind of interrupts the flow), but I worked on this spread for a few nights in a row which meant that I took a picture at the end of each session. Keep reading to find out a bit more about the techniques & supplies I use and my thinking process when I’m art journaling.

This spread started when Jupiter, my 4-year-old, told me a story one evening about his stuffed animals and said “Rabbit is sad because she wants to be a cat, but mouse says she can’t.” I think this appealed to my imagination from the point of view of discovering one’s own identity and the struggle one might experience in a society that often tells us we can’t be ourselves if that doesn’t fit within the norm. Yes, I’m sure that’s not what my 4-year-old meant lol, but that’s the story that evolved from it in my mind.

New sketch inspired by a story Jupiter told me about a rabbit and a mouse. #artjournal #sketch #portrait #whimsical #irisimpressionsart

This is in my Strathmore Mixed Media journal. I did the initial sketch with my Graphgear 2B mechanical pencil. I did lots of erasing and making sure I was really satisfied with the sketch. I’m practising 3/4 portraits and trying to get my faces to be non-wonky.

First steps with colour. #mixedmedia #artjournal #strathmore #irisimpressionsart

There are two approaches I take, either I do a background first and then work on top to add the featured elements (like a face). When I do that I usually work quick and imperfectly. The other way which you see here is where I sketch first and work on the face in detail, before creating a background around it.

I find shading a face very meditative. On this face I started with a layer of Neocolor II watersoluble crayons. I don’t press hard, but I do add a lot of colour. I then activate the crayons with diluted gesso. I keep adding more Neocolor II on top, making sure the previous layer is dry (if you don’t wait you might rub off the previous layers). As I get more towards the final layers I use water to activate rather than gesso.

A bit more progress on this one. Going through an ugly disjointed phase in my opinion lol, but it'll get better. I usually rush through paintings, doing stuff in less than 1 hour. But with this one I'm taking my time. I think this is my third evening working on it and it'll probably be another one or two sessions before it is done. Feeling excited about this painting and connected. #mixedmedia #artjournal #visualjournal #irisimpressionsart

I worked on the mouse and rabbit with acrylic paints mixed in with some gesso to make them flow better. I generally work with the rule that the outside edges are darker and the inside is lighter. This usually gives a nice effect and looks semi-realistic (in as far as a whimsical piece can look realistic! Lol). I put in a quick background with paint & gesso just to get rid of the blank page.

"Rabbit is sad because she wants to be a cat but mouse says she can't." Story by 4-year-old Jupiter. #mixedmedia #artjournal #artoninstagram #irisimpressionsart

I finished the piece by adding coloured pencils on the face to deepen the shading. I then used oil based paint sticks for the background. I applied them roughly and then smooshed them out with my fingers. They do dry eventually (usually a few days) but while they were still smudgey I used a pin to scratch patterns in the background.

I really love the different elements of the spread and I’m calling this finished. I do however feel like I need to work more on being able to integrate my subjects and the background a bit better, so it all becomes more cohesive.