Category: Watercolour, Soft & Oil Pastels

I thought I would work my way through Bernie Berlin’s ATC Workshop book and try out all the techniques and see what I can come up with. No doubt I’ll discover some twists by playing around.

Heres the first technique in the book which I have decided to try called ‘Intuitive Watercolour’.

The idea behind this technique is that your using the natural patterns which have been created by the inks to make a picture. You use the lines within the inks as a guide to draw around and make patterns and pictures. This part is certainly a challenge for me, and I didnt really like what I did all that much if Im honest. But I have to admit that I had a lotta fun trying it out and getting messy – my fingers are still hot pink and purple in colour!

I just love the vibrancy of the background and the colours in this technique!


Step 1:

Using watercolour crayons pr pastels (I used watercolour oil pastels) scribble to add colour aound the edges of your ATC as shown below:


Step 2: Using a wet paint brush, wet the paint and then drag it around the atc across the centre so that the whole card is covered in paint..

Step 3: While the paint is still wet, drop different colours of watercolour inks (I used posh impressions inks) onto the card. If the card isnt wet enough you can spray more water on top and move the card around to encourage the ink to move into interesting patterns. If you add too much ink you can use a baby wipe to mop it up. When you’ve finished use a heat gun to both dry the ink and move the ink around some more to make abstract patterns.

See below for my watercolour backgrounds:






For the next part of this technique you take a black marker pen and you use it to draw around the outlines which have formed between all the different colours. Look at the patterns in the paint where the colours have blended together and use the pen to highlight these areas and draw lines in.
So far I have done 3 atcs in this way, I found it hard at first, my first 2 attempts I have scrapped entirely as I hated them so much. But Im not too bothered about these 3 atcs shown below – I dont hate them, but I dont like them – I guess they will kinda grow on me, if at all. Ive decided for the other backgrounds I am going to overstamp using black ink with a really bold and prominent stamp design as I dont want to ruin them with my scribbles!

Heres the ones I did with the drawing as per the directions above:

intuitivewatercolouratc2.jpg intuitivewatercolouratc3.jpg


I have just finished stamping on the rest of the watercolour backgrounds, Im much happier with the stamped version! I cant believe how vibrant the colours areHere are the scans:



Heres some more backgrounds I made using the gold leaf resist technique.

These are very easy to do, you need a gold or metallic leafing pen such as Krylon.

Onto your card stock make patterns with your gold leaf pen, you can doodle or just add squiggles – its up to you. You can even use droplets from the pen by removing the nib and dropping the ink direct from the pen onto the card.

Once the gold leafing has dried, take a paint brush dipped into a watercolour type paint and just wash over the entire card in different colours. The gold leaf acts as a kinda resist which makes cool background effects.

Heres the Gold Leafing Backgrounds before I added a watercolour wash to them:

Gold Leaf Watercolour Resist - before

Gold Leaf Watercolour Resist - before

Heres the backgrounds after I did the watercolour washes:

Gold Leaf Watercolour Resist - afterGold Leaf Watercolour Resist - after

Gold Leaf Watercolour Resist - afterGold Leaf Watercolour Resist - after

Gold Leaf Watercolour Resist - afterGold Leaf Watercolour Resist - after

Gold Leaf Watercolour Resist - afterGold Leaf Watercolour Resist - after

Ive been experimenting with a pack of black lutradur sheets I had in my stash for a swap I signed up for, Ive been meaning to use my lutradur for ages but never got round to it. Adrienne announced a lutradur swap on UKArtSwaps which caught my eye – I now had an excuse to dig out my lutradur and actually USE it for a change 🙂

Heres a couple of backgrounds I did with the lutradur, havent made anything with most of them yet though! My next step with the background is to experiment with distressing them with my heat tool!

Dont forget to click all the pictures you see if you want to see bigger images!

Lutradur Metallic Rubbings:

I made this background using a sheet of black lutradur and a stamping mat to make a rubbing using metallic oil pastels. I love how the pastels pop out on the dark background

Lutradur Metallic Rubbings

Lutradur Metallic Rubbings

Lutradur Squirty Painted Background:

Various paints and colours where brushed and squirted directly onto the lutradur to make a painterly background, I then placed another sheet of lutradur on top of the painted sheet and pressed them together, then pulled them apart to make a print of the background. Both backgrounds are below (click for bigger)

Lutradur Painted Background

Lutradur Squirty Background

Lutradur Resist Background:

I made this background by first stamping a repeat pattern all over the sheet with metallic paint, once it was dry I rubbed over the top with another colour to make a kind of resist effect.

Lutradur Resist Background

Lutradur Oil Pastel Background:

I used metallic oil pastels gently rubbed over the black lutradur to bring out the patterns of the fibers. I love the feel of this background

Lutradur Oil Pastel Background

Lutradur Melted Oil Pastels Background:

This is one of my favourite backgrounds, I used various colours of both metallic and regular oil pastels to make this background, I used a hot encaustic wax iron to smear hot wax across the lutradur and added little droplets of wax to add accents.

Lutradur Melted Oil Pastels Background

These backgrounds are very quick and easy to make, I love them because they are so vibrant and rich, their colours are so alive! Why be subtle when you can be in yer face! 🙂

I used neocolor watercolour crayons to make these backgrounds but if you dont have these you can always adapt using brush marker pens, watercolour pencils, watercolour paints, inks, reinkers or even your inkpad – improvise and see what alternatives you can come up with.

What You Need:

  • Watercolour Crayons -or- alternatives
  • Cardstock (not glossy)
  • Jar Of Water
  • Large Brush
  • Heat Gun

How To Make The Backgrounds:

To make it easier Ive broken these backgrounds down into 4 easy to follow steps which you can see below, remember to work on newspaper as this can be messy:

Bright Watercolour Wash Backgrounds

Step 1: Take 3 different colour crayons, I chose yellow, magenta and red. You dont have to pick the same colours as me, choose your favourite colours – the brighter the better. Pastel shades dont really work for this background.

With your 3 different colour crayons; scribble a border around the card stock as seen in the photo labelled Step 1.

Step 2: Dip your paintbrush into the water and move the colour around the page as seen in the next photo step.

Step 3: While the background is still wet with the water from the previous step quickly scribble randomly over the card using the same colour crayons. See step 3 image.

For this step I added a bold section of yellow to the middle of the card, and then used the magenta crayon to scribble over the left and bottom and then used the orange red crayon to add scribbly lines and blocks of colour.

Step 4: Dip your brush in the water again and use it to gently blend the colours youve just added – dont use too much water as you will make your lines and squiggles dissapear and you want to keep them for added interest.

To prevent the water from diluting the colours too much, grab your heat gun at this point and blast the background till its dry.

Thats it! Arent they easy backgrounds? And boy are they bright!! Have a go at making some yourself, try different colour combos and experiment, then when your done give me a shout!

Heres some more backgrounds I did, to add interest I took some inks I had and dropped colours directly on the backgrounds while the water was still wet (click on the images to see larger pictures):

Bright Watercolour Wash Backgrounds
Bright Watercolour Wash Backgrounds

I was playing around with my encaustic iron and some cheapo oil pastels I have and came across this little easy background discovery!

What You Need:
# Oil Pastels
# Encaustic Iron or Travel Iron
# Backing Parchment (or non stick heat sheet/teflon liner)
# Gloss Or Matt Card Stock

How To Create:

1. Heat your iron up so its nice and hot, then take an oil pastel crayon and rub it on the hot iron to melt, iron the colour onto the sheet of parchment paper and move it around the surface.

2. Repeat step 1 using different colours of oil pastels until you have a nice big pool of hardened colour on your baking parchment in different colours.

It will look a mess at this point and something like this:


3. Take a sheet of card stock and place it over the parchment paper, using the iron; iron the back of the cardstock to make the oil pastels melt and transfer onto the card stock in a lovely marble like pattern. Allow to cool and use them in your stamping projects – easy!

Tip: Black gloss card looks stunning with this background technique! After the oil pastels have cooled down you can buff up the surface with a piece of tissue to clean it up and make the black gloss card surface pop out. You can use any colour card stock but the effects are more stunning on black. You can use matt card stock too – the wax doesnt sit on the surface like it does with gloss and they blend together more. See my samples below for visuals.

Gloss Card Stock Backgrounds:


Stamped Gloss Backgrounds (stamped with acrylic paints)


Stamped With Brilliance Inks:

Matt Card Stock Backgrounds:


Stamped With Memories Dye Inkpad: