Maker's Miscellany

A collection of miscellaneous knowledge for makers, artists, and creatives.

* While this list isn't exhaustive, I do hope it helps. I'll probably update this as I come across more helpful information (or remember something!).  *


Abstract: a term generally used to describe art that is not representational or based on external reality or nature.

Acrylic Paint:  a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are water-soluble, but become water-resistant when dry. - (source)

Analogous Colors: colors next to each other on the color wheel

Armature: the support structure on which a sculpture or figure is created

Art Journal: a book in which both words and images are used to document life, express emotions, and/or try out new techniques or media

Assemblage: The use of found objects or three-dimensional objects to create a work of art (source)

Brayer: a small rubber roller traditionally used to spread ink on a surface before printing; it can also be used to spread paint on surfaces.

Collage: pieces of paper and other materials arranged and glued to a supporting surface

Color Palette: a range of colors used in a creation 

Color Wheel: the organization of colors on a wheel; used to help understand color schemes

Complementary Colors: colors located opposite one another on the color wheel

Composition: the arrangement of the individual elements within a work of art so as to form a unified whole; also used to refer to a work of art, music, or literature, or its structure or organization.

Figurative: representing a form or figure in art that retains clear ties to the real world, like the human body

Found Poetry: a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage) - (source)

Gesso: a paint-like substance used to prepare surfaces for painting. It's made of a binder, chalk, and pigment. It traditionally comes in white, though it also comes in black, gray, and even colored varieties.

Glaze: A transparent or semitransparent coating of a color or stain used over oil paintings, plaster sculpture or ceramics (source)


Gouache Paint: pronounced (gWASH), is an opaque watercolor paint

Medium or Media: materials used to create a piece of art

Mixed-Media: the use of more than one medium in a single piece of art or the identification of an artist who works in more than one medium

Monochromatic: tints and shades of single hue or color (source)

Oil Paint-  paint in which pigment is suspended in oil, which dries on exposure to air

Oil Stick- also called a pigment stick, is oil paint in a stick form

Paint Palette: a surface used to arrange and mix paint on

Palette Knife: are blunt with a very flexible steel blade and no sharpened cutting edge. They are primarily used for mixing paint colors, mediums, additives, paste, pigments, and so forth directly on the palette before applying them to a surface. Palette knives are symmetric, like a kitchen spatula, but often with a slight crank between the handle and the blade. -  (source)

Paper Clay: clay to which cellulose fiber (paper most likely) has been added - (source)

Seven Elements of Art:

  1. Line
  2. Color
  3. Shape
  4. Form
  5. Value
  6. Space
  7. Texture

Sgraffito: decoration by cutting away parts of a surface layer (as of plaster or clay) to expose a different colored ground (source); also used in mixed-media/painted pieces by scratching into a top layer of paint to reveal the media beneath

Washi Tape: originally known as Japanese masking tape (or mt), it's now recognized as decorative, low tack masking tape made out of rice paper; there are now lower cost plastic versions available. (source)

Watercolor: a paint composed of pigment mixed into water; a work of art made with this paint.

Water Soluble: medium can be used or thinned with water.






** When necessary, I referenced the Museum of Modern Art's glossary of art terms. Additional sources are linked at the end of the corresponding definition


These are only the classes I've personally taken. There are so many artists who offer classes I want to take, but budgets are real and time isn't always on my side. I encourage you to, if you are able, take classes from your favorite artists. It supports them and you gain knowledge and experience from a source you already appreciate. It's a win-win!  

Inspiration Wednesday by Donna Downey

From the site page: "Your IW membership includes private blog access to a full year’s worth of Inspiration Wednesday videos, supplies lists and photos every 2 weeks for 25 weeks, filling one inspiration journal."

I like the conversational style of Donna's videos. Each layout in her journal develops organically with her explaining her process and the supplies she's using along the way. Membership to this class includes lifetime access and membership in a Facebook group. 


The Soul Bearers by Jeanne-Marie Webb

From the site page: "Together we will create 3 different soulful beings using paper clay.  It will be about finding your Soul Bearer with what you have around you and inside you.  I hope you will join in and journey together with me as we create and find our sacred, beautiful beings through the imagery and stories buried within us."

This self-paced class was the perfect introduction to making figures in air-dry paper clay. Jeanne-Marie has a relaxed and open approach to teaching which really allows students to embrace their own aesthetic. The class was informative and fun, and the Facebook group became almost a second classroom with the helpful hints both Jeanne-Marie and other artists offered. 


Painterly Portraits by Julie Johnson, hosted by Jeanne Oliver

From the site page: " It is important to gain the fundamentals that will make your art strong and loved by others. With those fundamentals we can play!"

I'm still working my way through this class, but so far I've found it to be highly informative when it comes to fundamentals of portrait painting. I don't always have the exact paints she calls for, but that hasn't stopped me from trying out the techniques she's teaching. This class definitely has given me a push out of my comfort zone as I tend to be more figurative in my work rather than realistic. Learning, though, is inherently about moving beyond comfort zones, so I'll take it. 

youtube channels:

Mystele Kirkeeng

Mystele is one of my favorite artists to watch create. She talks as she creates, explaining what she's doing, supplies she's using, and what she's seeing as she creates. She looks for shapes and forms as she's creating and uses them as guides towards a completed piece. Her art is very stylized and not focused on realism. It's gorgeous!

Danielle Mack

Danielle has a channel full of helpful (and beautiful) videos. I find her tutorials to be the perfect blend of informative and relaxed which is just what I need when I'm trying to learn something new or brush up on my skills. From art journaling and drawing to watercolors and acrylic painting, she covers a wide-variety of techniques and media. My personal favorite thing that she creates are her ladies. They are exquiste! 

Donna Downey

Donna is another talented artist who shares as she creates. She has a way of inviting you right into her process - messes and all - that's hilarious and open. I particularly enjoy the way she experiments and plays with new-to-her media.

Bob Burridge

Bob has a library of videos he calls "Bob Blasts" which are short but information-packed art lessons. They've become a favorite resource for me to use.

Juna Biagioni

Juna's videos were a huge reason I was able to relax a bit when it came to creating faces in my art. She explains her process and what she's using and creates in a loose style I like. She pays attention to the details without getting caught up in them.  

Pam Carriker

Pam is another artist who teaches as she creates. She introduces fundamental art practices in a way that's approachable.