Friday, July 31, 2009

Ransom Note How-To

I absolutely love the "ransom note" look in my journals and even on my paintings. I adore working with mixed up, clipped letters and words. In fact, one could say I'm a little bit obsessed with this technique and I go to great lengths to make creating this look as streamlined as possible. Here at Lost Coast Post, I'm going to start posting more tips and techniques so consider this entry the first of your mini-lessons in mixed media.

I must preface this how-to by saying that I officially have a tinge of Obsessive Complusive Disorder (OCD) in my psychological profile. However, it is quite mild and generally, doesn't interfere with daily life and in fact, I have found that it can come in quite handy. I LOVE to organize; I've been color-coding, labeling, and compartmentalizing my life since grade school. Today, my studio is no exception. I can't function in chaos. So I have developed all sorts of filing and storage solutions that make my art life easier. Just know that you should always do what makes you comfortable in your personal space.

After I have read all my favorite art magazines, I tear out articles to file (that's another post), and then clip letters and words from the remaining magazine carcass. I also find magazines at thrift stores. I clip when I am feeling uninspired. I clip while watching T.V. I clip at the end of a long day of art and my hands are too tired to do anything else. The result is piles and piles of little words and letters. However, I found that when I went to create a ransom note, it took forever to find what I was looking for and I just don't have that much time & energy to spare. So I decided to unleash my formidable organizational skills upon that alphabet confetti and find a way to streamline the process.

My clipped letters are organized in envelopes by letter so when I need an "A," I simply go to that envelope in the file and viola! Give me an "A!" Teesha Moore organizes her clipped letters in a tray with lots of little compartments. Choose a method that works best for you. My clipped words have recently been organized by parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, contractions, helping verbs, commands, and so on. Even I'll admit this is going a bit overboard but it has come in handy when I'm creating a poem and I need a specific type of word to fill in a gap.

As far as found word poetry is concerned, I have organizational schemes for these as well. I dump out a bunch of words, create little phrases and poems and then when I have "written" what I wish, I gather up the words I'm using and put them in a clear plastic ATC or slide page. Each plastic pocket is labeled #1, #2 etc...Then, I write the number of the poem and the word order in a notebook. Yesterday, I "wrote" 20 tiny poems and filled up a slide sleeve. Now, when I'm working on my miniature journal, I can simply refer to my notebook, pick the phrase I'd like to illustrate, go to the corresponding pocket, and there are all the words I need. Well, those are your tips for this fabulous Friday!

I hear the men in white coats coming as I write this so I'd better close for now!


sharon said...

Thank you, thank you!!! My mind is still not broken into this paper way of thinking yet. My thought process has changed I have to say since I started ATC's, because I walk around looking at all paper products in a schemingly develish way, but now you have taught me how to do that with words....
I now know what I will be doing in my spare time
Thank you generous friend!

Terri Kahrs said...

Michele, this is a GRrrr-eat post! Thank you SO much!

I've always wanted to do more letter art, but could never figure out how to keep all of the letters "straight". Right now they're all jumbled, and it's a bit like picking individual alphabet letters out of a soup bowl!

Your OCD has been VERY helpful, and I'm glad you've had an opportunity to share these techniques before the men in the white coats take you away! LOL Love & Hugs, Terri xoxo

lee said...

great tips now i will try to organize my letters.

jackie said...

Very helpful advice, Michelle! I'd like to know what kind of envelopes you use for sorting the letters and words - just plain old paper envies or something more substantial??

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