Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

It’s almost a new year, and I don’t know about you, but I had a really difficult time choosing a planner. There are so many options these days. Sometimes too many options feels stifling, do you know what I mean?

Today, I’d like to share an idea on how to “artify” your planner of choice. Of course, you’ll have to consider the type of paper the planner contains, but most of the following techniques work for a variety of papers, even composition notebooks.

Suggested Supplies:

Technique No. 1: Watercolor Paint and Water-soluble Markers

Use watercolor and water-soluble markers to highlight words or sections of the planner pages.

Technique No. 2: Water-soluble Markers and a Waterbrush

When you make marks with a water-soluble marker, and then use a waterbrush to move the color around, you end up with a nice variation of light and bright areas.

After you use the waterbrush with the marker, you can make a few subtle sweeps on another page to add a little color (see right side of above image).

Technique No. 3: Acrylic Paint

Scraping acrylic paint is one of my favorite techniques. I love the vibrancy of the color and the layered look. I also love to write on top of scraped acrylic paint. There is just something wonderful about the texture.

TIP: Matte acrylic or paint that is meant for layering, like the Dylusions Blendable Acrylic, would be best to work with. Golden paint can be too sticky, thick, and glossy when dry.

TIP: Use more than one color to get some variation on the page. (Above I used a pink and a red.)

I have the January pages prepped, and I love how the color peeks through the edges of the planner. Just imagine how colorful it will look by December! I am excited to see it.

Additional ideas to “artify” your planner:

Use rubber stamps and colorful ink pads (or try water-soluble markers on your stamp)

Use colored pencils

Use water-soluble colored pencils and a waterbrush

Use stencils and acrylic paint

Apply color with Tim Holtz Distress Stains

Doodle with micron pens or Sharpie pens (the kind that does not bleed through)

TIP: Prep your pages one week or month at a time, so they are ready when you need them! This could be a simple creative practice that helps you use your art supplies and your planner!

Many Blessings to you as we enter the New Year!

-Briana of

Hello again!

Since my last project I have discovered -- the gel printing plate! I know, I know... where have I been right? So I started this one with a gel print with some Artistcellar stencils! I used the Halftone Dots Series, Sacred Geometry 2 and the Diamond series with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Payne's Grey, Dina Wakely's Turquoise acrylic paint, Golden High Flow in Indigo and Green Gold, and Americana Multi-Surface Acrylic in Deep Turquoise. 

Once the gel print was dry, I taped off the edges with blue painter's tape and then added a wash of watercolor over the print with a koi waterbrush. Then, I cut out a silhouette from a magazine and traced around it with a Scribe-All pencil

Next, I used some black gesso and covered everything that wasn't in the silhouette... and added some drips of Golden's green gold and a little bit of Dylusions paint in "cut grass". 

To finish it off, I brushed some liquid glass over the silhouette because I wanted it to be glossy!

That's it! It was a very easy -- but very fun project and I really like the results.​

Hello again creative tribe! I am bringing it back to basics for this post. I recently got my hands on a set of water-soluble graphite pencils by Faber-Castell. There are five pencils and a paintbrush included. The five pencils range in hardness from HB (like a regular #2 pencil) up to 8B (soft and dark). They are divine to work with.

A little history....back in college my go to art supplies were pencils, charcoal and pens. I loved to doodle and sketch. I would get lost in the details of a composition and spend lots of time adding textures and shadows. I drew a lot of faces. Mostly self portraits but also funky ones from my imagination. Faces are endlessly fascinating to me with all their variations. Even though I like to play with mixed media I tend to take a break and just draw. I keep it simple, keep it monochromatic and let the magic happen.

For this little face I started in my Dylusions art journal on a page that I had previously gessoed. (Just a light layer applied with an old key card.) You can use these pencils on an un-gessoed surface but I like the extra workability I get from the gesso base.

Loosely sketching with the HB pencil I establish the head shape. Sometimes I start my faces with the nose and go out from there but this time I started with a U shape for the face. Once all the features were to my liking I took a softer pencil like the 2B or the 4B and put the shadows in. Grabbing a wet paintbrush or even a Koi Water Brush I painted over my lines and watched as the graphite began to blend and darken. I was able to pull out more shadows and create some really beautiful shades of gray.

While the surface was still wet I went back in with the 8B pencil and drew right on the wet paper. What a dark smooth line it made! The pencil line even bled a little into the wet paper. My little texture-lovin' heart went pitter pat at all the different ways I could create texture with just a few pencils, a brush and a cup o' water.

When my drawing was dry I used the 6B pencil and added more shadows around the face. I did not add water this time as I liked how the texture of the paper made such a nice complement to the smooth texture made by adding water.

I hope if you have not yet tried water-soluble drawing pencils that you take a leap and go for it. Keep it simple and just play. Get lost in the details and experiment with textures and shadows. Layer the graphite and watch the magic happen.

Happy Creating!