Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
There is so much that’s beautiful and intriguing to me about a paper cut art journal. You might remember that I did my first one a few months ago, and shared it in this post. Now that I’ve begun my second one, I thought it would be fun to walk you through a paper cut art journal tutorial so you can try it yourself. You’ll find a list of materials at the end of this post. But first, let’s get to the juicy part with some pictures and tips!
For this page, I’m using a simple leaf shape. It’s one I love to cut. Because I work intuitively, and usually without planning, I pay attention to not only what I think might look good, but what feels good guides me too.
Paper Cutting Technique
Be sure to cut towards yourself, use your other hand to steady the page, and be careful to keep your hand out of the path of the blade.
Cut completely end to end, and resist the urge to pull pieces out, as the tears look messy. However, you might like that look, and do the entire page that way, which could be a cool look too!
Paper Cutting as an Intuitive Art
Developing my own “vocabulary” of organic and geometric shapes is one of parts of the intuitive paper cutting process that I have found most fun. I went through a process of deep exploration, pushing each technique to see what I could do with it, and mining my own scratch pages for unique ideas. I walk you through this same process in my paper cutting class, Layers of Light. It’s thrilling to see my students creating in ways I never dreamed possible with paper.
Allow your shape to multiply in a pattern you find pleasing. Take your time, and enjoy the process. Paper cutting is something you can leave out and work on a little bit at a time. Just be sure to keep sharps safe from animals and children.
This is my happy place. I love seeing what develops before me. Working intuitively is such an adventure. I don’t know what will happen next. Sometimes I love what happens, and sometimes I don’t, but often those “mistakes” lead me to change things up and get more interesting. You’ll see how that happens with this series of pages.
One of the things that makes paper cut art journals so fascinating is the way you work with layers. Because of the holes, each page has a relationship to the pages around it. I go more in depth into this in my class, Layers of Light.
See how that circle added a peek-a-boo window and frame to the pages that came before? Isn’t that fascinating?
In Layers of Light, we develop your voice as an artist through paper cutting. It’s not a cookie cutter class, but rather, I teach you paper cutting skills and techniques, and take you through a process for finding your unique voice with organic, geometric, and other patterns. Then I help you learn some basic skills in using yupo paper, alcohol inks, and ways to think about layering paper cuts.
Paper Cut Projects
Students make paper cut light boxes, paper installations, alcohol ink paper cut collages, paper cut art journals, tiny, intricate organic paper cut forms, and large scale undulating wave pieces, just to name a few projects.
It’s so cool when you can surprise yourself, and it keeps happening for me in paper cutting, and for my students as well. Each time I think I know the limits of this beautiful art form, another artist proves me wrong.
Check out what you can do with paper cutting – you’ll be amazed:
Materials List for Paper Cutting:
Sketchbook Project Journal from the Brooklyn Art Library – this is a super cool global art project that I LOVE!
Paper – If you’d prefer not to use a journal:
Strathmore 300 Series Drawing Paper, 11 x 14, 50 sheets for $6.37
Legion Stonehenge Light Paper, 11 x 14, 30 sheets for $29.42
Paper Cutting Knife:
Xacto Gripster Knife #11: $17.93
(OR you can try the Excel Gripster Knife #11: $3.85, I have not tried this one, but it’s been recommended by many paper cutting artists I love.)
Paper Cutting Replacement Blades:
#11 Xacto Blades, pack of 40: $11.89
(OR #11 Excel Blades, pack of 100: $17.01)
Paper Cutting Mat:
Self-Healing Cutting Mat , 18×24 inches: $25.99
I’d love to hear what intrigues you about paper cutting. Also, if you enjoy this post, share it with a friend on Pinterest. Just use the Pinit button that pops up on any picture.
*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That means, at no extra cost to you, if you choose to click and purchase something, you’ll support the work of Mindful Art Studio to empower the artist in all of us. Thanks!