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!

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.

Sharing More Emotional Art


Lately I’ve been doing something that my friend Marieke calls ‘raw art journaling’. So now you’ll probably ask:

What Is Raw Journaling?

To me raw journaling is where you journal with the intention of feeling, processing and expressing your emotions. You avoid trying to decide up front what you’re going to make (i.e. you don’t plan out a composition or particular subject), but instead you let yourself be led by your inner voice and intuition. For me an important aspect of this is letting go of the need to make something pretty or coherent.

Raw journaling #artjournal #intuitiveart #rawjournaling #emotion #mixedmedia #strathmore #irisimpressionsart


I usually start out by grabbing a few colours (adhering loosely to colour theory and colour relationships – I will be going into this more in my bonus lesson on Let’s Face It) so I don’t get overwhelmed. In my journals I like to use matte acrylics (like Americana or Blick matte acrylics) because they don’t make the pages stick together the way glossy acrylics might. Then while I’m working I’ll let my intuition guide me in terms of picking further colours.



I find that when I try this type of art journaling things tend to look a lot more unfinished. I also use a lot more words in haphazard ways across the pages. With a ‘normal’ art journal page I have a tendency to create a face and then in the empty space a word or phrase. With raw journaling it’s much more ‘all over the place’. I pay less attention to composition and more attention to what I want to express. Almost everything that goes through my head will come out in text, either in layers or illegible scribbles or as visible text on the final layer.



The most surprising and unsurprising thing has been that I’ve found this type of art harder to share. I usually share everything (pretty, ugly, it doesn’t really matter to me who sees it), but I think that in a lot of my work the emotions are more hidden (e.g. the process has been cathartic but the page itself doesn’t really express specific emotions on the surface). In this work the emotion is totally on the surface. It’s very raw, very real and it makes me feel really vulnerable to share it.

So maybe it’s not such a surprise that I’ve found it hard, but I will keep sharing, because I absolutely love this type of art. Both to look at and to make. It’s not necessarily ‘pretty’, but to me it expresses something deep and it touches me in a way that a lot of other art doesn’t. It makes me feel exhilarated, a bit scared and it makes my heart beat faster.

If you’d like to check out some other people who do raw journaling, these are artists whose work I enjoy:
Marieke Blokland
Anne-Marie van Eck
Erin Faith Allen
Roxanne Coble

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??

Let’s Face It Giveaway!

Let's Face It 2016

Hello my lovely blog readers!

Do you want to draw and paint faces? (But maybe feel a bit intimidated??)….. keep reading!

I am so excited to announce that I am going to be a part of a brand new, awesome online course titled “Let’s Face It”. LET’S FACE IT is a course created and hosted by Kara Bullock from Kara Bullock Art.

This course is for anyone that wants to practice creating faces and portraits, but is especially designed for those of you that have felt scared or intimidated to do so at some point in your life.

Together, we want to share with you our strategies, tips, and techniques that we use in order to create our faces and portraits. You will leave this course feeling confident enough in your skills to never feel intimidated again!


Click here to find out more about LET’S FACE IT, what’s included and who your lovely teachers are!

The course will open for registration on 15 October! Bookmark this page so that you can come back and register. An early bird discount will be available if you register by 1 December!!! Awesome, right?!

I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing team of teachers and guess what else?? I get to give away one free spot in this course to one of you!!

To enter the giveaway:

1. Share the URL publicly on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, blog etc). You can get multiple entries for sharing in more than one place!
2. Come back here and comment to say you did it!

I will announce the lucky winner on 22 October

Giveaway terms: winner will have to respond within 7 days to claim their prize. A refund will be given if winner has already purchased or the winner may choose to gift their prize to someone else.

In the mean time, click here and bookmark the page so that you can come back on October 15th and sign up!!

I really hope you will join us and I can’t wait to be alongside you on this wonderful mixed media journey!

Radiant Lesson Sneak Peek

T minus 3 days until we start with Radiant Art Journals! I’m joining a team of such amazing artists (seriously, I’m pinching myself!) to bring you an online course that will help you explore the yumminess that is art journaling.

You’re going to learn tons of techniques, be inspired by a host of different teachers and styles and get oodles of encouragement!

I’ve put together a short video in which you can see what to expect from my lesson:

I’m so excited to share my process & techniques with you and I really hope you will join us, you can sign up here!

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

If you still need a bit more convincing, my friends Marieke & Juna have also got amazing lessons in store for you and they have each created teaser videos too. You can check out Marieke’s video here, and Juna’s video here.

If you’d like to read more information before deciding download the in-depth course outline PDF here.

5 Reasons You’re Not Happy With Your Art Journal Pages
photo credit: Broken Flowers via photopin (license)

I know very well what it’s like to want to do art, but every time you sit down and do it, you’re feeling crappy about the result. It’s really inhibiting and it might even stop you from creating next time. I don’t want that for you (or for myself)! So here are some insights that might help you understand why this happens and what you can do to change it.

1. You need practice

There is no way around it: practice makes progress. There are no shortcuts and you have to put in the time. Imagine you’re going to learn a language, it will take some weeks to grasp the basics, quite a few more to be semi-proficient and several years to be fluent. The more you practice making art, the more fluent you become and the easier it will be for you to create things you like, simply because of your skill level.

I love this quote:

Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle
-Jon Acuff

Another awesome resource is this video with words from Ira Glass. It’s called ‘The Gap’ and is about that ‘gap’ that exists between knowing what art you find beautiful and actually being able to achieve it yourself.

2. You are attached to the outcome

Leading on from the concept of ‘the gap’ explained above, it’s very frustrating if you have something specific in mind and aren’t quite able to execute it as nicely as you see it in your imagination. This partly comes back to practice, but another thing that you can try which to me absolutely transforms the process of art making is: to let go of the outcome.

Art is weird and wonderful, it’s a process, not just paint by numbers. Try and place yourself firmly in the current moment, rather than in the future where this finished (perfect) artwork exists. What can you do now that you enjoy, that is an expression of yourself? Let the art emerge from moment to moment, rather than working towards a fixed outcome.

An example of this might be that you are going to paint a portrait. But instead of trying to make it picture perfect or photo realistic, let it come alive through your personal filter of your mind, hands & body. This is actually where the most original art comes from in my opinion!

3. You need to add more detail

One of the things I notice a lot in the art of beginners is that it somehow looks unfinished or unrefined. It’s not necessarily a lack of technical skill (I think beginner’s art can have a great sense of freedom! As well as art made by kids) but a lack of going back in and making things look complete. It’s probably also to do with confidence. I see this in how people shade faces, they know where to put the shadows and the highlights but they’re not confident enough to make it BOLD. Make the darks really dark and let the highlights pop out!

You’ll be surprised at how a painting can transform by just paying a bit more attention to the details and finishing touches. Pay attention to shadows/highlights, use outlines and shading, create halos around people/objects, add little doodles or dots.

4. You’re working against your supplies

There are no rules about how you must use your art supplies (or which specific supplies to use), but there are definitely ways in which to use them effectively and ways in which to use them that make you want to scream and tear your hair out!

You’ll have to experiment yourself with specific things that feel frustrating that might be solved by a different technique (try Googling or a search on YouTube!), but here are some things that I’ve found frustrating and ideas on how to make them better.

Paper pilling (rubbing off / forming little balls):

-Use gesso first or a layer of acrylics. Make sure this layer is thoroughly dry before continuing

Paint not applying smoothly:
-Dilute slightly with water or matte medium/PVA glue
-Work BIGGER! Tiny fiddly work is especially hard when you’re a beginner. Scale up and then when you’ve gained experience, scale down again
-Use different or better quality brushes

Backgrounds look muddy or brown instead of vibrant (also especially applicable while Gelli printing):
-Try not to mix complementary colours (blue/orange, purple/yellow, red/green)
-Only apply either cool colours (blues/greens/cool purple) or warm colours (red, yellow, orange) together.
-Dry thoroughly in between layers.

5. You’re doing the wrong thing

Why are you doing this? Whose art are you making? I often fall into the trap of seeing other people’s art and admiring it so much that I want to recreate it or I want my art to look like that. So off I go on a very results orientated journey, which I often find very frustrating and unfulfilling. So ask yourself what your goal is. How do you want to feel? What do you really want to make? How do you like using your supplies? Why do you want to create art in the first place?

There are no right answers to these questions, just your answers that will give you an insight into your personal whys and hows.

If you’ve got any tips to share, please post them below in the comments! Can’t wait to hear what your favourite methods are for enjoying making art.

Interview with Effy Wild – Radiant Art Journals Teacher Interviews

This blog post concludes the series of Radiant Interviews and what an awesome interview to end on: with Effy Wild the organiser and host of Radiant Art Journals!


Tell us in one sentence what it is you do?

I champion the Inner Artist.

What is your favourite colour palette?

Cobalt Teal, Green Gold, Quinacrodone Magenta.

What is your (current) favourite art supply?

Acrylics paint!

When I think of you, the word authentic immediately comes to mind. What does authenticity mean to you in your life and art?

Authenticity, to me, means being real about your stuff – the good stuff and the shadow stuff. It means being in the world in a way that doesn’t obscure the reality of your life or yourself. In art, it means exploring your own inner landscape, using symbols and visual language that is specific to you, and following every impulse, no matter how wild.

What new exciting thing is coming next in the world of Effy Wild?

Radiant II. 🙂 I’m also working on, which I can’t talk about just yet, but which does have a notification list set up!

Where can we find you online?

Creativity Network:

Here are some examples of Effy’s unique and evocative style

Art By Effy Wild |

Art By Effy Wild |

Art By Effy Wild |

Art By Effy Wild |

Art By Effy Wild |

On 1 October Effy Wild’s new course Radiant: Art Journals launches to the world! It will be a veritable mixed media art journaling buffet of lessons served up by 14 guest teachers plus Effy herself! I’m proud to be among the inspiring line-up of teachers and here on my blog I’ve lined up interviews with all the teachers for you to get to know them a bit better! If you’d like to join us creating wonderful art journal spreads, you can still sign up.

Interview with Jeanette Montero – Radiant Art Journals Teacher Interviews

Let me present to you an interview with the wonderful Jeanette Montero!


Tell us in one sentence what it is you do?

I am a mixed media artist and art supply junkie.

What is your favourite colour palette?

Warm colors – red-orange-yellow

What is your (current) favourite art supply?

That’s a tough question for an art supply junkie but overall I’d have to say the one art supply I can’t give up is gesso. It’s a base coat, a glue, a paint color, and an eraser all in one… it’s like magic!

For your Sketchbook Project you drew & painted giraffes inspired by your favourite artists. Tell us a bit more about what inspired this project, how you approached it and what you learned?

The inspiration for the project was that I wanted to discover “my style” and I wanted to start by learning and experimenting with the techniques of my favorite artists. I love painting animals but I wanted a cohesive sketchbook, so I decided to limit it to one of my favorites, the giraffe. It turned out to be the best decision. Having to incorporate the giraffe into every piece of art work actually forced me to find more creative ways to present the techniques and styles I was learning.

I am not sure that I have truly found my style because I so enjoy playing around with different materials and techniques but what I did learn from this project was that I do not have the patience for rendering lifelike drawings or paintings! I love using more simple, less detailed forms of animals and plants in my work. More importantly, this project set me on my path as a mixed media artist because I discovered that I no longer felt the need or the pressure to limit myself to learning, mastering or using one medium at a time. If you haven’t tried working in a series, I highly recommend that every artist do so. You can learn so much by getting so intimate and studying just one subject so thoroughly.

What new exciting thing is coming next in the world of Jeanette Montero?

For starters, I am very excited (and honored) to be guest teaching with you and 15 other talented artists in the 2nd edition of Effy’s Radiant E-course and engaging with the artists who will be joining us in the class. My hope is to inspire others to pick up any art supply from the humble crayon to the more complicated or intimidating encaustic paints and just feel free to play. I am launching my website and I plan on sharing all my experiments there and hopefully there will be new online classes in the future as well.

Where can we find you online?


Here are some examples of Jeanette’s recent projects

Jeanette Montero |

Jeanette Montero |

Jeanette Montero |

On 1 October Effy Wild’s new course Radiant: Art Journals launches to the world! It will be a veritable mixed media art journaling buffet of lessons served up by 14 guest teachers plus Effy herself! I’m proud to be among the inspiring line-up of teachers and here on my blog I’ve lined up interviews with all the teachers for you to get to know them a bit better! If you’d like to join us creating wonderful art journal spreads, you can still sign up.