Creative Prayer Book: Initial Layers


Last week I eased into my Creative Prayer Book with a variety of techniques using watercolor paint, so this week in Lesson 2, I want to build some initial layers on top of the watercolor. I’m not too focused on the content of the pages yet, so I’m only using materials and techniques that will add some structure, color, pattern, or texture to the pages. I’m avoiding anything with a strong image or content, and this will allow me to build up the background before delving into the meaning making. I want to add some drawing with pencil and some simple collage as a way to begin building layers..

Just like with the watercolor paint, I’m focusing on allowing the pages to flow from one to another, so I want to use lines and shapes to transition from page to page, so I wrap some of the collage around the edges of pages and repeat some of the same shapes from page to page. This helps connect the pages together, and helps tie the pages into a cohesive whole.


Pencil Drawing
Adding simple lines and shapes with pencil is an easy way to add more to the background. The value of the pencil is subtle and doesn’t stand out too much, allowing my marks to fade into the page. I like to use geometric shapes and lines, and rectangles, and straight lines add a lot of structure and help divide up the space of the pages. Circles and curved lines, on the other hand, help to add some variety and visual interest to pages. Feel free to use any types of lines, shapes, or marks that you want. Perhaps avoid drawing representational images, and keep your mars on the decorative side.


Collage is a big part of my journal practice, and I always have a pretty big stash of ephemera to use. Just like the pencil drawing, I want the collage to be somewhat subtle, so I don’t have anything with imagery. Newspaper, book pages, raffle tickets, maps, and colored paper all add some color, pattern, or texture to the pages without hinting at content or meaning. UHU glue stick is my go-to adhesive. I know some people have issues with glue stick, but when used effectively it works great. Besides, glue stick is the most appropriate for the materials that I use. A lot of people use an acrylic medium as a glue, but watercolor and watercolor pencil just won’t stick to the acrylic. Dig through your stash of papers and materials and find things that you want to glue in.


Try experimenting with some drawing and collage to build some layers on your pages, and don’t worry yet about what the content will be. We’ll get to that in future lessons, so have some fun building some initial layers and using up some of your fodder stash. Just like with the watercolor, work on as many pages as you wish, and remember that you don’t have to include the drawing and collage on every page.

Happy creating!