Review – Gelly Roll Souffle Pens

Many fellow artists have told me about their dreams of finding a “holy grail” gel pen that stands out against dark paper. I’ve loved gel pens for years and have tried out many different kinds to try to find my favorite. I’ve found that I like (enough to include them on my Top 3 Favorite Art Supplies of 2014 list!) the Gelly Roll gel pens the best.

Review - Gelly Roll Souffle Pens

 

Why I Like Them:

The Gelly Roll Souffle pens have packaging that’s not only cute, but practical. The cap matches the ink color inside while the barrel is marked with the variety of each pen. There’s an assortment of colors and mine came in a pack of 10 – black, white, yellow, green, blue, orange, purple, pink, peach, and teal.

The pens write smoothly, provided you make sure you keep the tip clean and replace the cap after each use. They produce a thick line that can fill in larger areas, but not so thick you can’t use them for more detailed work. The ink dries opaque over both dark and light paper and generally doesn’t smudge once it’s dry. I use the Souffle pens frequently to add patterns and contrast to my pieces. One recent piece I’ve heavily used them is on my cat-themed journal page.

These are widely available at arts and craft stores (tip: they’re often in the scrapbooking section!) and are usually sold in a pack. I’ve seen the prices range from $15-20+ depending where you buy them. They’re a little bit of a splurge, but for the effect and how long they last I think they’re worth it. I’ve had mine for over 2 years and they’re still going strong.

Artfully Megan Signature

Do you have a “holy grail” gel pen? What are some of your favorite brands?

I was not given this product for compensation or review. The product was purchased by me and the opinions supplied are my own.

Farewell to a Journal

Well, it’s finally happened: I’ve used up another journal!

Writing Journal September 2014 - February 2015

When I first got this journal in September 2014, it had a plain brown recycled-paper cover. The blank cover screamed that it needed decorating and, as a creative, I absolutely had to oblige! I personalized the book by collaging magazine images and adding some designs using Sharpie and gel pen. Since much of the cover is collaged, I wanted to protect the front (and keep all the little collage bits in) so I used contact paper to seal it in, give it a smoother look, and make it more durable. Surprisingly, this was the first time I decorated my writing journal.

I usually do my writing on lined paper, but I tried something different this time and chose to go with a graph paper book. Having a graph paper journal was actually really useful during the time I was using it. Over the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time making graphs and charts as I planned for the future and organized my thoughts.

Another thing I liked about this journal was the size of it. When I wasn’t traveling, I had bigger and thicker journals. Once I started traveling more frequently for work, it was important to me that my journal was both smaller and thinner. This 104-page book allowed me to journal daily while on the road.

This book has seen a lot of ranting, frustration, whining, and hurting. But in spite of all that, it’s also seen twice as many dreams and aspirations. It’s where I decided that I needed to steer my life towards the things I am passionate about. It’s where I vowed to stop putting myself down all the time and start building myself up. It’s where I started my addiction to washi tape!

I’m definitely going to miss writing in this journal every day, but I’ve already got another one ready for the next few months of adventures!

Artfully Megan Signature

What are your thoughts when finishing a journal?

Blog news! – I got business cards!

My blog has been up for about two months now and I’ve been casually spreading the word. But word of mouth only goes so far so I’d like to introduce you to my new business cards! I had them made at moo.com and I’m very happy with the way they turned out. The back features some of my artwork, dating from high school to the present day. The front has my URL and contact information, including my social media accounts.

Artfully Megan Business Cards

 

I’m looking forward to sharing these and meeting new people along the way!

Artfully Megan Signature

Art Journaling Magic – Recap!

I’ve picked up a lot of tricks from my high school art classes and the sculpture class I took in college, but until recently mixed media had been largely unexplored. Mixed media increasingly appeals to me as I grow in my art journaling practice. There’s something both beautiful and magical about the way the layers and textures come together into one cohesive piece. So it seemed like destiny when Art Journaling Magic, taught by Rosemary Augustine, was offered on a day that I was available.

Art Journaling Magic Page

This piece was created by layering gesso over mixed media paper and creating an initial background of acrylic paint. I then used matte medium to collage magazine images and stamped tissue paper in layers. Texture and depth elements were added in the form of stencils and punchinella. I finished it off with some pen embellishments and 3D stickers.

Around the time of the class, I watched an episode of American Experience highlighting the life and career of Dorothea Lange. One of the things she was quoted as saying resounded in my mind as I worked through the process:

“Beauty appears when one feels deeply. Art is an act of total attention.”

– Dorothea Lange

I think it’s so true and that’s one of the things I like the best about mixed media. There are so many individual elements, each added for a special reason or for no reason at all, all coming together to create a whole. I think it’s remarkable whenever I see mixed media pieces in person. It’s easy to get lost in every daub of paint and every altered image. It’s also easy to lose yourself making your own pieces.

Since I’ve taken the class, I’ve used the techniques I learned to create front and back covers for my next daily journal and a birthday card.

I do plan on continuing to use these techniques and build upon them on my future projects. And remember that blank canvas? I’ve already started drafting studies to get it filled!

Artfully Megan Signature

Are you a mixed media artist? What aspects of it do you enjoy the most?

Nala’s Adoption Story

I believe reflection through journaling helps you become more attuned to the things that change your life. Everything, no matter how big or small, has an impact. One thing that has definitely influenced my life is when I adopted my cat, Nala, three years ago this week.

Cat Journal Page

Art Journal Page – “Crazy Cat Lady”
Supplies: watercolor, crayon, collage, gel pen, marker

 

I became a full-fledged transplant in the summer of 2011, leaving my hometown in South Jersey to live the dream in corporate America. There was a lot of excitement around this new life, but it was (and continues to be, in some ways) very lonely. A few of my co-workers and long distance friends recommended getting a cat. As someone who’s only raised goldfish, this was completely foreign territory!

I eased into it slowly and soon the extensive research progressed into compulsively visiting the animal shelter website. Every day I would check to see what new friends they had and one day I found myself inside the shelter. It was supposed to be an exploratory visit—a “look, but don’t take home” kind of visit until…

“Can I help you?” asked a shelter employee.

“No, just looking,” I replied. “I’ve been thinking about getting a cat.”

“Oh, well we have plenty! Just look around and if you have any questions, let me know. If you find one you like, we can help you meet with them.”

“Thank you! I haven’t had a pet before, so this is all new,” I admitted as I began to browse the cattery. I cheerfully peered into each cubby, every step pushing me closer to pet ownership.

Nala the Cat

I selected three cats to meet with separately. The first was a (very) large, playful white cat named Snowball and the second was a serene, blue-eyed tuxedo named Mr. Teddy. Adorable as they were, I wasn’t convinced the fit was right. And then there was Nala, a 1-2 year-old brown tabby recently surrendered to the shelter.

She caught my attention when I approached her cubby. She meowed, reached out her paw, and purred. She was friendly and affectionate as I cradled her in my arms. When I set her down, she poked around the room, stopping to warmly rub her head against my hand. I hadn’t planned on taking a cat home that day, but I’d fallen in love and it was far too late.

The next few months were definitely an adjustment for both of us. I became familiar with feeding, hairballs, and other fine aspects of cat ownership. She adapted to my constant cuddles and attention. The decision I was extremely nervous about became the decision that couldn’t have been more right.

Nala the Cat

Suddenly my days became less lonely and I felt a little more grounded. We had our home together and we were friends. Our relationship has been the subject of many art journal pages and my daily journal is filled with the crazy cat stuff she’s done. I can’t imagine my life without her and I truly consider it changed for the better.

Artfully Megan Signature

Have you adopted a pet? What was your story and how has it changed you?