LSG November Color Challenge
Steampunked Dress Form

Finnabair Inspired Copic Journal Cover

Hi - today's tutorial has quite a few steps but the results make it completely worthwhile!  Now a few of you may be familiar with the work of amazing  Polish artist Anna Dabrowska - better known as Finnabair, and if you're a long time reader of my blog you will know I love and ADORE Finn and her art. so it should be no surprise that today I am taking inspiration from Finnabair's unique complex style and creating a cover for my new Copic Art Journal.  

Copic Journal Cover 047a wm copy

Now I have to confess Anna had been to Australia twice and twice now I've missed out on her classes - sniff sniff - so I don't actually know what her process is, so I've had a guess!  For anyone who has been to a Finnabair class (you lucky things) I apologise if I have anything wrong :(  This project mimics what I think Anna does right up to the sparkly sprays - after this it's all Sparkle Tart baby!

What I used:

  • Copic Markers: BG09, BG34, BG49, V04, YG25, E47, E49 and Colorless Blender
  • Copic Air Compressor
  • Copic Colorless Blender Various Ink
  • X-Press It: Blending Journal, Clear Gel Glue and Triple Tac Glue
  • Chromacryl White Acrylic Paint (you could also use gesso)
  • FabScraps chipboard shapes, lace, watch parts and other embellishments (metal and acrylic)
  • Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Sprays in: Time Travel Teal, Teeth Chattering Teal and Mad Hatter Mint
  • Lindy's Stamp Gang Flat Fabio Spray: Curiouser Chartreuse

NB: for a completely matte effect omit the sparkly sprays and just use the Flat Fabio Line


What I did:

You will need to gather some materials to embellish your journal cover: metal, plastics, embellishments, papers, lace, charms, wood, chipboard - whatever you would like to incorporate onto your design.  I am using my X-Press It Blending Journal, a variety of lace, Chromacryl white acrylic paint, chipboard shapes from FabScraps and a variety of brass charms and paper flowers.
Gather your supplies

Paint the journal cover with the white Chromacryl acrylic paint - I used 2 coats allowing each to dry before continuing.  Once dry use the fabulous TripleTac glue from X-Press It to adhere your embellishments to the journal cover - allow this to dry thoroughly before continuing.  
This is what mine looks like.
Glue on embellishments

Once dry cover everything with white Chromacryl paint and leave to dry.
Copic Journal Cover 009a wm copy

You can add a little texture paste for extra interest at this point if you like.
Copic Journal Cover 006a wm copy

Spray with your favourite sparkly sprays (choosing the colours is the hardest part) and let dry (this saves a little Copic ink as it adds a base layer of colour, it also adds a little bit of sparkle to the final project).  
Copic Journal Cover 016a wm copy

Using a Copic airbrush add BG34 over your cover to colour any light/white areas.
Copic Journal Cover 019a wm copy

With airbrush add YG25 to about 1/4 of the cover - this can either be randomly or you can choose to colour individual elements.
Copic Journal Cover 018a wm copy

Add V04 to a few places and colour some of the elements eg: flowers or bird - this adds a beautiful contrast to the greens and blues
Copic Journal Cover 020a wm copy

Spray BG49 over some areas to darken the colours.
Copic Journal Cover 022a wm copy

Now this is where things get really interesting!  Using the special properties of Copics and the Copic Blender you can achieve some exciting special effects.  
Before adding any final colours, use a stencil and the X-Press It Clear Gel Glue to apply a design to some of the areas without embellishment.  I also used the Clear Gel Glue to cover some individual elements to highlight them, leave this for several hours or until completely dry.
Copic Journal Cover 023a wm copy

This results in gorgeous shiny areas (keep reading to see why this is an important step).
Copic Journal Cover 027a wm copy

Spray a fine coat of BG09 around the edges of the cover - darkening the edges draws your eye to the more colourful area in the centre.  Go ahead and spray right over the top of the glue design.
Copic Journal Cover 037a wm copy

Add E47 to the edges and to some of the central designs, again this helps draw the eye.
Copic Journal Cover 041a wm copy

The final colour E49 is only sprayed on to the very edges, and to the central frame - go ahead and spray this well, getting into all the nooks and crannies.

Copic Journal Cover 047a wm copy

Use the Copic Blender for the next steps - the special effects!

Using the blender brush tip, remove the excess colour from the top of the gel glue elements (make sure to scribble to colour off your blender in between) - this will reveal the original colour underneath which is paler, creating patterns which POP!  
I have a special blender pen for this sort of thing as it will make the nibs pretty grubby.
Copic Journal Cover 052a wm copy

Then use the chisel nib to remove colour from the highest points of some of the textured embellishments eg: frame, bird etc, this will reveal the colour underneath and leave yummy darker colour around it (using this flat nib ensures you only touch the very top of the design - resulting in a beautiful colour contrast - just don't press too hard!).
Copic Journal Cover 056a wm copy

As a final step flick a little of the Copic Various Blending ink onto your project (I add a few drips onto my fingers and just flick this on) - this will add just a little more texture and interest to the final piece.
Copic Journal Cover 079a wm

 Once all the colour is dry and you have finished removing colour using the Blender your project will look something like this up close, aren't those colours amazing - the Copic ink even blends and layers over paint!

Copic Journal Cover 065a wm copy
Copic Journal Cover 076a wm

and this is what my finished journal cover looks like....
Copic Journal Cover 061a wm copy

I just love the amazingly vibrant results achieved with the combination of Lindy's Stamp Gang sprays and Copics on this project and the special effects achieved with the Blender make it just that bit more special.  I hope this inspires you to have a go at this technique for yourself, I can promise it is loads of fun and the results as you can see are fairly impressive.
I'd love to hear what you think of my journal cover,  so leave a comment and let me know.