How To Create An Alice In Wonderland Themed Mixed-Media Painting
“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
This is one of 4 tutorials + papers that were written + designed by me in October 2009 (for Somerset Studio Magazine's Mar/Apr 2010 Issue celebrating Alice in Wonderland). In the end, only 2 of the 4 were used. I decided to share the others with you here. These sat as drafts for (gulp) 6 years on my old blog, I have finally decided to publish + share them - and despite my better judgement, not edit them. My mantra the last month has been "Sometimes, done is better than perfect", this is an exercise in exactly that :)
It's amazing to see how much my work has changed since I did these!
The other tutorial + printable artwork can be found here.
Psssst! If you aren't interested in creating a painting yourself, scroll down to the end where you can download + print a copy of my original!
As with any tutorial - there is no right or wrong way to create your painting. Follow my steps exactly, or ditch half of them... it is truly up to you. By sharing my processes, I hope that people get an insight into how I create, the layers I use and how it all comes together - you will find your own way as you practice along. That, just tickles me!
You Will Need:
- 140lb Watercolor Paper
- White Gesso
- Acrylic Paints (Naples Yellow , Dab of Yellow)
- Paper Towels
- Palette Knives
- Baby Wipes
- Tim Holtz® Distress Crackle Paint (Scattered Straw, Mustard Seed)
- Paintbrushes (The rougher the better)
- Glazing Medium (Satin Finish)
- Gel Medium
- Distress Ink Pads ( vintage photo, antique linen)
- Soft Pencil
- Heat Gun/Embossing Gun
- Rubber Stamps
- Black Ink Pad
- Nail File or sandpaper
- Awl or other sharp object
- Workable Fixativ
Let's Make Art! - Part 1
1) Press the distress ink pads to a vintage dictionary page and spritz it quickly with water. Spread the damp ink with your fingers for an instantly aged look. Allow it to dry.
2) Use gel medium to glue the aged text to your paper. Brushing a coat both underneath the page and on top allows for maximum adhesion. Use your finger to smooth out any bubbles.
3) Use a scrubby brush to apply yellow paint, mix the paint with glazing medium in spots. (I squirt the glazing medium directly onto the paper) Keep in mind, you don’t want an even, or even a pretty finish; the messier, the better! Be sure to use glazing medium over the dictionary page, so the text shines through the paint. Use baby wipes to remove bits of the paint where you don’t want it.
4) Create lines with charcoal along the edges of the ripped papers, wet your finger with a baby wipe and smudge it into the tears.
5) Scrape gesso with a palette knife onto paper. The key here is to spread it out, then again, alternating directions while thinning it with each stroke. Use the sides of the palette knife to mark lines into it and add interest.
6) Use gel medium to glue down bits of ephemera on the paper.
7) Repeat steps 3 - 5.
8) Use charcoal to do a rough sketch of Alice sitting on the hill. Balance the dark charcoal by adding scallop doodles or another decorative border up above. Wet the tip of your finger with a baby wipe, and smudge all the charcoal lines. Sketch in more details as needed.
9) Spread some gel medium on your finger and run it over the charcoal lines, smudging and sealing it simultaneously. A baby wipe will easily remove any smudges that get too dark. Allow to dry completely.
10) Add random brushstrokes of the crackle paint across paper, and dry.
Let's Make Art! - Part 2
11) Use gel medium to add additional bits of ephemera on the paper.
12) Take a pencil and write quotes along the edges of the hill and other imagery. Use it to add faint details to Alice and the scalloped border. Doodle on your paper, add in flowers, the Cheshire cat or any other design you like. The idea here is to make sure if you cut the paper into small pieces, each piece would have something interesting on it.
13) Smudge the pencil and remove parts of it with a baby wipe; just as we did with the charcoal.
14) Repeat steps 3 - 5. Add thicker, more opaque paint blobs over some of the designs you drew, so they become faded and melt into the piece.
15) Use a Nail file to sand random places on your paper. Use a sharp tipped object to embed distressed lines.
16) Mix 1 part blue paint with 2 parts glazing medium. Paint it onto Alice’s dress, and use a baby wipe to lift parts of the paint so it’s just a subtle tint. Then do the same thing with white paint, adding highlights to Alice, and other elements on the page.
17) Use gel medium to glue on yet another batch of old text in various places.
18) Dab your finger into a brighter yellow paint and glaze, spread over various spots of the paper.
19) Wet a paintbrush (it should be damp, not dripping) and run it over the distress ink pad. Brush it randomly over your paper, paying attention to the cracks and torn edges. This will help unify all the pieces on our page in addition to adding depth.
Let's Make Art! - Part 3
20) It’s all about the layers now! You can do these in any order you like, I am just sharing the order in which I repeated the layers. Repeat steps 3 – 5, 9, and 18.
21) Faintly draw with pencil and charcoal, smudging and removing just as we did in steps 11 & 12.
22) Dry brush gesso lightly across the page.
Let's Make Art! - Part 4
23) Just when you thought you were done – add in a few more layers. Scrape on paint and gesso. Stain the paper with ink. Add details with pencil and charcoal. Glue down more text and make it all cohesive by continuing the layers.
24) Once you are happy with your paper, seal it with workable fixativ and take pride in your creation!
Down The Rabbit Hole by Christy Hydeck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Download the high-resolution mixed-media printable artwork by clicking the image above. Use it as a decorative paper, to frame or even create gifts with it! It should be easy enough to personalize :) I'd love to see what you do with it - so be sure to comment + let me know!
(note - assuming i remembered to use it, any links on this site to amazon.com may be an affiliate link. learn more here!)