Thursday, August 10, 2017

ATC's with Stencils and Modeling Paste with Marit Barentsen

Hi there sweeties... it's Marit here with another fun tutorial for you! It's my last blogpost as a member of the Design Team, but I get to that at the end of this post. First I am going to show you how you can use even your big stencils on a tiny little piece of paper, like an ATC. (Artist Trading Cards [ATCs] is a conceptual art project initiated by the Swiss artist M. Vänçi Stirnemann in 1997. Artist Trading Cards are 2.5 by 3.5 inches in size. They are self-made unique works or small series, signed and dated on the reverse by the artist/producer, exchanged and collected by the people who participate in collaborative performances ~ Wikipedia)

This tutorial will be a little bit different than usual 'cause I will also show you my tests and my failures. I know some of you out there would love to start art journaling or painting or 'something' creative, but get discouraged seeing all the 'good stuff' made by well known artists. Well, let me tell you something: these artists make mistakes too, they just don't show their attempt and failures on their websites. I usually don't show those either... my blog posts would get rather long and it's always nicer to show the finished results. But hey, I do spend a lot of time on testing and trying without (satisfying) results. And I also get frustrated sometimes when it comes to creating art. I try and fail. And once in a while I try and succeed.

So today I'm going to show you my process of creating ATCs, including the tests and attempts that I put aside as 'not to my satisfaction'. Ready?

First, I take out some gelli-printed background papers that I have in stock. When I gelli-print, I always make some background papers to use later. These are rather simple prints, just some different colored paint rolled onto the gelli-plate and printed on thick watercolor paper.

Next, I combine stencils with prints -  I choose stencils that match (in my opinion) with the colors on the backgrounds. 

I want to add some dimension so I use modeling paste to scrape through the parts of the stencils that I like to use.

See how I use just parts of the stencils? These parts of my paper will turn into ATCs (2.5 x 3.5 inch) so I don't need the full image design. Also, I might want to use part of the background paper as is to glue on the back of my ATCs so I leave some spots untouched.

Let the modeling paste dry completely overnight. The modeling paste adds some dimension and gives depth to the image, here's a detail.

Now, I don't know exactly how to go on... shall I paint the images? What would it look like if I ink them? I try several different techniques to see what each looks like so I can pick the ones I like best.

On one page, I paint the stenciled images with yellow acrylic paint. I kinda like it, but the yellow against the background doesn't show much contrast. 

On another image I add distress ink with a Q-tip. Hmmm... too fuzzy looking. Antiquing creme then... I put it on the stenciled image and take it off again right away... it looks awful! 

I then grab my golden acrylic paint... I love how it bubbles when you dry the paint with a heat tool - I used that technique quite a lot in the past and I use it now on the stenciled image. Wowzah, that's it!

I love the images that I painted yellow the best for my ATC-series but I want them in gold, so I paint over the yellow and I put the other attempts aside. (No, I don't throw them away! Parts of it might end up in an art journal or can be used as postcards.)

Drying the wet paint with my heat tool makes the paint bubble... doesn't it look magical? (btw, this technique works with most acrylics and even gesso.)

And now here's a trick: I cut a frame in the size of an ATC (2.5 x 3.5 inch.) Using a frame like this really is a simple but effective way to 'find' you ATC on a background (or find a nice detail in a photo from a magazine for example.) I find three ATC cards on the one piece of paper background.

The ATCs 'need' something extra... some contrast?

I flip through my magazines and find some fitting words in an advertisement. The colors (black on yellow) add some contrast to my cards.

I'm not satisfied still, so I get out my sewing machine and sew around the words. Yep, that's it! 

Here's the back of my ATCs. To cover the stitches and the smears I cut out three pieces from the left over paper and glue them on the back.

ATCs are always signed and dated on the back. You can of course use a marker and write the info or type, print and cut out strips with your info that you glue on the back. I myself bought an 'ATC stamp' years ago and use it ever since. There are all kinds of ATC stamps for sale and if you make ATCs often, it might be worth buying (or making) one. I just love the different ways I can use it. In this case, I stamp it on a pink-ish piece of paper that I cut out and glue on the back.

I'm not done yet... the white edges of the ATCs show that the card is made of two pieces glued together. You know how that looks like, don't you? To give the ATCs a finished look, I smear some black paint (DecoArt fluid acrylics, Carbon black) around the edges, using my finger.

And now my little ATC series is all done... here's the front ánd the back.

And with this tutorial my term as a member of the Jessica Sporn Design Team comes to an end. When I applied for the DT - in April 2016 -  it was with ulterior motives. Not only did I admire Jessica's art and did it seem awesome to be able to work with her designed stencils and stamps, I also could do with a bit of consistency... with illness in the family and looking at surgical procedures coming up (my mum, my beloved) I faced an insecure year and had no idea what the months ahead would bring. I thought it would help me 'come through' when I would be a member of Jessica's Design Team so that I could keep on making art on a regular base without laying too much pressure on myself. I am ever so grateful that Jessica accepted my submission and brought me into her Design Team. Thank you so much dear, it was exactly what I needed! Now, a year later, everyone is healthy and happy again and it's time for me to move on and dive deeper into my own art again. It was a pleasure to create these tutorials for you!


·         Squares and Circles
·         Judy's Trees
·         Love is for Everyone Script
·         Fallen Leaves (on test page)
·         Hands (on test page)

·         Leftover gelli print backgrounds
·         DecoArt Modeling paste
·         Panduro Acrylic heavy body studio paint (Gold)
·         DecoArt fluid acrylics (Carbon Black)
·         Cut out text from magazine
·         Sewing machine w. black thread

·         Stazon ink (Jet black) + ATC stamp 

Marit Barentsen is a passionate art journaler, mixed media artist, art instructor and creative writer from the Netherlands. Marit inherited a passion for words from her mother, who is a writer. Her father taught her to not only “look “ but also “see.”  That combination led Marit to become an art teacher and her art always showed images and words. After art school, she worked as a graphic designer. Years later, she re-discovered the  combination of words and images in art journaling and her art took flight.  Marit's art has been published in various magazines and art books. 

Find Marit on her websiteFacebook page, and  blog.


THANK YOU MARIT for an awesome post! 

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  1. This is just lovely! SO glad things are better now :) xoxo

  2. Oh Marit, your post makes me happier than ever that you joined there creative team. All of your posts have been amazing and this is no exception. I love that you showed your entire process here, even the ones you saved for another day. Stunners all. Hugs to you always.


If you are entering a GIVEAWAY, please add your email address in the event we need to contact you.

To avoid SPAM, please write it like this:

jessicasporndesigns (at) gmail (dot) com

Thank You!