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What can you do with a stack of gel press prints? Make crazy collage critters!   All you need to create these are some Gel Press prints, scissors and glue.  Roald Dahl, one of my favorite authors whose imagination knew no bounds, inspired this play.

Why do I choose gel prints for collaging? Because all the little details make every print interesting, even the ones that look basic as one large print.  Notice in the video how the patterns and details really jump out when cut up and assembled into these characters.

Watch Using gel prints to make collage critters on YouTube

If you’re brand new to gel printing, I’ve got a getting started video and downloadable PDF for you here.

The stack I grabbed is an assortment of colors and patterns. What mattered to me was having an assortment of prints, not exactly what was on each print.  Why such a large stack?  I wanted choices for my crazy critters.

When creating these, I simply look through the prints and start with whatever shape jumps out at me. For this one, it was an oval shape that said body to me.  After finding a body…the next step was a head…blue to coordinate with the belly button of course.

There are 4 body parts I tend to put on a critter.  Head, body, arms, and legs. These are just guidelines as this little one, a cross between Marvin the Martian and an octopus, didn’t get any arms.

Inspiration can also come from real animals.  Oh what fun it would be to find this bird hanging out at the pond!  I was thinking cute little flying bluebird when I started cutting the shape, and then it became more duck like. To get the feathers just right, I channeled a bit of that Thanksgiving turkey making from kindergarten.

What will I do with these silly critters?  These make playful gift tags for kids and adults (they enjoy the silly too).  They might become cards or make an appearance in an art journal or perhaps they will inhabit my studio walls.

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A Silly Collage to Shake off Stress

A silly story involving Alfred Hitchcock popped up as I made this mixed media collage by Carolyn Dube

There was a stress intervention from the Muse at the request of my family. Grown up responsibilities had been getting the better of me.  As I played and added more layers to this collage, a ridiculous plot involving Alfred Hitchcock appeared.  The sillier the plot, the less stress I felt.

Watch Shaking off stress with a silly mixed media collage on Youtube.

The play began with the zipper being glued down with heavy gel medium.  Why heavy gel? Because I figured the zipper needed something strong to hold it in place.  I never guessed where this one zipper was going to take me.

The pink woman,  a flexible, dimensional collage element, was made with modeling paste and a stencil.  I used several modeling paste “decals” in this collage so how do I make these?  I share it step-by-step in my self paced workshop,  Modeling Paste Play.

A silly story involving Alfred Hitchcock popped up as I made this mixed media collage by Carolyn Dube

Why did I choose traverse for this collage? Because there is such a silly story traveling across this entire thing. I will admit that the story is a bit unbelievable, even by Hollywood standards.

Using stencils in a mixed media collage by Carolyn Dube

The plot of an Alfred Hitchcock movie evolved as the layers built up. It starts with a group playing bridge. This is no ordinary bridge game, this is one that requires courage.  Can you feel the suspense building?

A silly story involving Alfred Hitchcock popped up as I made this mixed media collage by Carolyn Dube

Those bridge players needed courage because the zipper monsters attacked them. How did they survive?  A heroine who saved the day!  Who? Well, she’s a mermaid…and the mortal enemy of zippers.  After all have  you ever seen a mermaid with a zipper? Now you know why!

I’ll admit it was not an exactly Oscar worthy plot but it did chase my stress away.  If there happens to be a Hollywood producer reading this who would like the rights to this story, I bet we can work out a deal.

A silly story involving Alfred Hitchcock popped up as I made this mixed media collage by Carolyn Dube

Here are the supplies I used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!

A silly story involving Alfred Hitchcock popped up as I made this mixed media collage by Carolyn Dube

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Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

The play almost didn’t happen today. That logical left brain of mine was having a control freak kind of a day and things were being taken way too seriously. What rescued me? What got me playing?  My Permission to Play art journal!

Watch Rescued from Overthinking By My Art Journal on YouTube.

Want to make a cardboard journal in my free workshop, Permission to Play? Get signed up here and join the fun.

I was overthinking it, so I turned to a page and just started. Logical lefty pestered me with questions like, “Do you really want cover that up?” “Do you want to put that there?” as I added a layer of paint with the Gel Press plate.

Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

As I added color with the Gelatos that voice in my head was having a hissy fit because the page on the left was one I loved.  But it just hasn’t gone anywhere. The page on the right, well, that one has been one giant O.O.P.S. after another.  But the opportunity in all those previous Outstanding Opportunities Presenting Suddenly finally became clear when I uncovered the words I needed today, What We Look For.

It was like a slap on the head from my muse. If you’re looking for problems, that’s what you’ll see. If you’re looking for places to play, that’s what you’ll see. So any time those serious, and play stifling thoughts returned, I just laughed at them with the reminder that this is a cardboard art journal and I have permission to play!

Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

My logical left brain can be rather persistent, so it kept trying to “help” as I stenciled with the castle tower mask from the Once Upon a Time stencil set.

Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

A touch of pink with a Pitt Pen was added on top of the words. It seems I must color any white space, and those words were white after all.

Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

Stamping an a not-perfectly smooth surface like cardboard means stamped images won’t be “perfect” and artsy stamps like this one from Darkroom Door are awesome for this.

Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

Adding the white paint around the arch was a great opportunity to mess with logical lefty because there is no going back from that white paint. There is no wipe it off and start again. It will never be the same.

Logical lefty was so freaked out by this you’d think I had just boarded the first spaceship to Mars and would never see the planet Earth again.  Really?  It is just a cardboard art journal.

Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

As I added the women to the archway using my Learning to Dance stencil, a Post-It note as a mask made it quick and easy to make it look like she was behind the stamped image.

Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

Before today’s play, the page on the left was one I loved.  But it was stalled, it never went anywhere until now.

Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

This page had been yuck to me through so many layers, O.O.P.S. after O.O.P.S. until now.  Now I love love love this page and that critical logical lefty voice in my head has quieted down.

You can see how I made this journal and 3 of ways I rediscovered how to play in the free workshop, Permission to Play.

Handling those silly and critical voices in my head as I'm playing in my cardboard art journal by Carolyn Dube

Here are the supplies I used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!

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