SUBSCRIBE: Follow by Email

Sunday, 1 February 2015

February Week One: Lettering

Gidday Passengers!

My name is Annette Poacher and I am your guide for Month 2 – February. On this month’s Roadtrip we will be exploring Lettering/ Backgrounds and Quotes. Three of the fundamental ingredients to Art Journaling.  Although Lettering or words are not always necessary – I personally like quotes and positive affirmations on my pages. They remind me that I have a good life and if things are a little shaky in my world they let me know that tomorrow is another day with new beginnings and opportunities.

So I am going to share with you some of my “secrets” to lettering and backgrounds. Some of you will be familiar with them but hopefully I can introduce you to some new techniques and combinations.

As I am covering two separate topics I am splitting my detour and calling it “A Fork in the Road” – Turn Left and you get “Signage” (which refers to Lettering). Turn Right and you get “Backseat Backgrounds”. 

Ok so let’s kick things off with:

Oh boy, have we got a lot to cover with lettering. Here are couple of videos I found to start things off.

Your first task this week is to print out this practice paper and start experimenting with different heights and widths of letters, like this:

Once you are feeling a bit more confident, draw in letter shapes the following on Watercolour paper:

  • What country you are from
  • The town/city you live in.
Please stop there….we will be continuing with the next step next week.

You are probably going to get sick of hearing me say LAYERING this month. But to create depth we need to layer and layer and layer and layer. The best way I think to explore backgrounds is to experiment with each technique and then put them together. So, let’s start with two techniques for backgrounds:
You can also apply the video technique on watercolour paper and canvas. 

This video is great however I was actually looking for a video to show you how to use glad wrap with retarder medium and acrylic paints. ("Glad wrap" is also known as cling film or plastic wrap.)

Watercolours, Retarder Medium and Glad Warp on Watercolour Paper
Picture 1
Picture 1: Watercolours x 2 colours/Retarder/Glad Wrap/Watercolour Paper.

I got a piece of glad wrap and using a paint brush a little water and watercolour paint, applied the paint straight onto the glad wrap. Working quickly I painted a generous amount of retarder onto the paper and then put the glad wrap facing down onto the paper. Peel the glad wrap off. I used a light and a dark colour for contrast.

Acrylic Paint, Retarder Medium, Glad Wrap on Mixed Media Paper
Picture 2
Picture 2: Acrylic paint x 2 colours/Retarder/Glad Wrap/Strathmore Mixed Media Paper.

I used the lighter colour for my base colour on the paper and then picked up the retarder in my brush and some of the green paint and applied it to the glad wrap. Pop the glad wrap face down onto the paper and peeled it back.


  • If you want to put another layer over the top of watercolour – spray a fixative over your page so it doesn’t re-activate.
  • When painting the glad wrap use a small amount of paint. The idea is to create a pattern but still let some of the colour come through from underneath.

Nearly all my pages include a quote. I have suffered with anxiety and panic attacks for most of my life and found various things over the years to help me control it. Positive affirmations have most definitely played a role. So sourcing quotes is very easy these days due to our friend the internet, just use your favourite search engine, and there will be thousands of sites to choose from. But I have found some wonderful Facebook pages:

Later in the month we will be combining quotes with our lettering.

Important Links:

Driver Reviver Facebook Group:

Kreative Koncepts Online Shop:

Kreative Koncepts Mixed Media Blog:


  1. Are you talking about acrylic retarder? I am not quite clear on that concept. I do have acrylic retarder but if there is something else, please advise....I can't wait to try this layering background technique! Also, quite glad for the lettering because that is an area I struggle with intensely!

    Yay! You! for a fantastic start on this leg of the journey!

    1. Yes, acrylic retarder is exactly the product used. :)

  2. Being unfamiliar with some of the more exotic supplies being used, would it be possible to give a little more explanation? For instance...acrylic retarder...not familiar...what does it do?. Why use it? Can we get along without it or is it a must have for layering effects?

    1. Hi Reni, Acrylic Retarder is a product that is mixed with acrylic paint to extend the drying time. I would encourage you to try the technique with what you have to see if it works. The weather has a big effect on how quick paint dries, and where we are in Australia it dries in about 2 seconds, so adding the retarder medium helps. It may not be necessary where you live. You can get retarder mediums that also thin the paint, and thicker gel products that do not.

      When you read product descriptions you may see references to the 'open' time of paint, this is the same thing. 'Open' time refers to the time that a paint is workable (ie, not dry). My suggestion would be to get do a Google search for retarder medium + your country to find specific brands that are sold where you live.