Art Journal: Birds of Prey | AE Challenge

I’ll admit, when Cathy came up with Birds of Prey as the theme for this month’s Art Elements Challenge, all I could think of was making owl polymer clay beads and use them as earrings. Not that there’s anything wrong with owls, but I’ve already made owl drawings, owl doodles and owls in macramΓ©, and I just really wanted to give other raptors a try. So I gave my newfound interest in art journaling some nudges, and finally used some new Gelli plates that we’d bought. After what seemed like a long time, I ended up with this –

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page

The background

I started out with a background painted with light-blue acrylic colors, to whose borders I added brown and black. On this, I used a chevrons-patterned stencil for some gel prints. I think I’m learning to work with the unpredictability of my gel prints, because I wasn’t disgruntled from all the times they didn’t turn out right. πŸ™‚ The Gelli plate that I used was a new one that is smaller than my A5 page, and I’m still figuring out whether to trim the page for my next session, or try to make the border work with it somehow.

The tags

I used waste paper from my gel printing sessions to die-cut some labels. I used another chevrons-patterned stencil to add subtle background patterns on the labels, and then a circular Gelli plate to add the sun/moon shapes. I also used a mandala stencil with the gel plate to add light (and some not-so-light) patterns over the suns/moons. I then trimmed the sides and bottom of each label to get my tags.

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page Detail

The sketches

I read a lot of raptor material and looked at quite a few pictures, and then used a gel pen to messily draw a falcon, an owl and a vulture from memory. (I know, I succumbed to the owl’s magic and couldn’t resist adding it. But at least it’s amongst other raptors. πŸ˜› ) I don’t think the falcon turned out quite right, but I’m not aiming for perfect! πŸ™‚

The ’embellishments’

I stuck the tags to the background page, and then experimented with shading to form some shadows around the tags. It involved painting a short line outside the edge of the tag and smudging it before it dries. It took a while, but I like how it turned out, and I wouldn’t mind following the process again next time and improve on it. I used a white gel pen to write some words and draw some simple designs, and then drew some ‘jump rings’ at the edges of the tags, just because I felt like doodling a bit more.

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page Detail

I had a lot of fun with this page, and even though it seemed to take forever (I worked on it in spurts across two days), I’m happy that I tried stuff that I hadn’t before. What a wonderful opportunity the challenge provided – thanks, Cathy!


This is a blog hop, so head on over to these blogs to check out more inspired raptor creations!

Guests: Tammy β€’ Beth β€’ Cat β€’ Anita (you’re here) β€’ Kathy β€’ Alysen β€’ Linda β€’ Rozantia β€’ Jennifer β€’ Hope β€’ Sarajo β€’ Melissa β€’ Sarah

Team Members: Caroline β€’ Cathy β€’ Claire β€’ Jen β€’ Jenny β€’ Karen β€’ Laney β€’ Lesley β€’ Lindsay β€’ Marsha β€’ Niky β€’ Sue

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50 thoughts on “Art Journal: Birds of Prey | AE Challenge

  1. What is it about owls? πŸ˜€
    I like your project a lot, and most of all I love that you included a vulture because I think people are much too harsh in their opinion about them. Great job!

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    • Thank you, Cat! I share your opinion about vultures being treated unfairly. Amongst my sketches, I like my vulture one the most, and that makes me happy.

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  2. What fun! I adore working with my gelli plate too but have never made a cohesive piece like this. I think your sketchy birds are great and all the little details you added really bring it all together. Isn’t art journaling fun? I love that it’s so free-form and without some of the “rules” that there are in jewelry-making, if you know what I mean. Well-done!!

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    • I’ve found art journaling to be more fun than I’d thought. I must admit this is a bit too cohesive πŸ˜€ – I’d love to go more free-form. Maybe with more practice… πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you Kathy! I wanted to make them look sewn initially, but then tried the shadows, and later, couldn’t resist doodling something that resembles sewing. πŸ™‚

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  3. How marvelous! Your experiments with the plates (which I have tried) look amazing and all the embellishments add to the richness of the piece. And how awesome that you included a vulture!

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    • Thank you Tammy! I like the rich look in this one, though it was totally unintended. Vultures are under-appreciated, and I’m glad I had a chance to add it.

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  4. So cool and different! I had planned to create other raptors too…but the owls were just too much. I’m glad you got to experiment, and I’m glad you included a vulture too! They are such strange characters and so often overlooked. Nice to see some buzzard love! Thank you for playing along with us!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your printing process. I love the colors and I’m partial to vultures (and condors). Hey, they’re just trying to survive out there in the food chain like all the rest!

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  6. What for a wonderful mixed media piece! The different levels, the ideas behind it, the colors and depth of texture is lovely! πŸ™‚

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  7. I really enjoyed reading your process for art journaling, I would like to do more of that myself, my ‘journal’ pages are very static and yours has colour and movement, I like it!!

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  8. I love everything about this. But I admit I thought you had actually sewn the tags to the page when I first looked at it! Lol! The gel print you got is stunning and I love how you drew the birds. I think they look fantastic. I briefly considered doing a turkey vulture because we see those a lot around here, so I’m glad you decided to do a vulture. Fantastic job. Thanks for participating in the challenge!

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  9. What a lovely piece, I really like the colours you have used and am very glad that you did add an owl as he is my favourite!

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  10. Oh I do so love Gelli prints! The colors, the textures, the layers. I really like what you have done – and glad you didnt leave the favorite owl out completely! Glad you could join us! Sorry i was a bit late to the hop!

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  11. I thought I had already commented, ’cause I remember saying (thinking?) how I loved the idea of the shadows against the colorful background! I don’t even know what Gelli print is but now I want to find out and get a feel of the texture!

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