Journals & Collaborative Projects

Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous collaborative projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:

Tutorials & Techniques

Below are some of our favorite tricks for adding depth and dimension to your art.  We hope you have fun giving these a try!

Current Group Swaps & Projects

Below is a list of current swaps and projects available to group members. If you are interested in joining our group and participating in these projects, please visit us at:  

For existing group members, you can sign up to participate  in these projects here: Swaps & Current Projects.  

We look forward to swapping with you.  Happy Arting!

Member Gallery for Group Swaps
Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous group swaps and projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:
Come play with us... Join today!

Paper Traders is a friendly online community of artists from around the world. We nurture and value creativity, embrace new ideas, products, and techniques yet also value tried and true methods of artistic expression. Our projects consist primarily of paper arts, mixed media collage, artist trading cards, altered art, assemblages, collaborative journals, mail art, and more.

We are interested in creative individuals of varied skill levels who wish to challenge themselves artistically and help build a supportive community. We are at our best when we can share our creative efforts as well as techniques, resources, feedback, and insights. We encourage conversation about art, the art process, and what it means to be an artist.

Paper Traders is hosted on Yahoo Groups at
We hope you will consider joining us on an artistic journey!

In order to prevent spammers and to insure that all applicants are actual persons interested in creating art, a questionnaire will be sent to all potential members. When applying, please submit digital examples of your work or direct us to a website where we can view your art. The intent of the questionnaire is not to judge the merits of your art but to safeguard the integrity of our community.

Free Images for Download

Below you will find images that are owned by our group members and offered for your personal use as well as images found in the public domain. Images may be freely used in your personal artwork but may not be used for commercial purposes of any kind without written permission of the owner. No images may be used to create collage sheets or image collections for resale.

To download, follow the link provided. In some cases, you may be able to just click on the image to enlarge it, then right-click and select "save image as". Content changes frequently and many images are available for a limited time.  Please check back often for newly posted images to use in your art journey.

Open Art Challenges !

We're changing things up here at Paper Traders. Instead of the monthly challenges of the past, we'll now be hosting special challenges that might feature a specific technique or product and will be rewarded with actual prizes sponsored by our group members.

Our new challenge for 2013 is a year long word prompt journaling project/challenge. Each specific challenge will be open for one month and all art bloggers can participate, whether you are a Paper Traders member or not. Each artist will comment with a link to their blog post that features the artwork for that particular challenge. For each challenge, a winner will be selected whose art best exemplifies the challenge. The winning artist will be featured here and get a "Trader Treasure" blog button to display on their own blog. They also will receive one chance for each entry for the end of the year prize drawing. Watch this page for more details and challenge announcements.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Create your own face stencils

Well , Julie Fei Fan Balzer has done it again.
She has come out with a line of face stencils
for those of us who LOVE her art journal pages
and wish we could just draw those darn faces.

So, I thought what about making my own face stencil?
But wait, I can't draw faces.
So you see the dilemma.

What if I found a magazine image of a face and
used it as a template to create a stencil?
Now we are on to something.

I found this image from a local magazine/newspaper.
I tore it out and then using a black sharpie,
I traced over the prominent lines I wanted
to feature in the stencil;
hair lines, eyes, nose, mouth, etc.
You can see that I left out the arm and
just drew hair strands across it.

I then laid my clear mylar over the image
and retraced over those lines with the sharpie.

Next cut out those shapes/lines with
a sharp x-acto knife.

Lay out the stencil on the already prepared background
of your art journal page. I used a make-up sponge
and dabbed black ink into the spaces
(Colorbox archival pigment).

Went back with a brush tip Pitt pen to fill in
the line gaps from the stencil.
I also went in and thickened some lines and
added some more hair curls.

I started to shade the highlights and lowlights
of her face. Looking back at the magazine image
will help you here to see light and dark areas.

All that's left is to add your text and any
embellishments you might want.

You can even take that same stencil,
flip it over and just fill in a few basic lines from
the stencil, just to get the shape of the face
and placement of the eyes and nose.
 I then went in and added a different mouth,
accented the eyes and really changed the hair.
A completely different girl.

How fun and easy is that?

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial from
 Cathy Calamas of Paper Traders.


Linda said...

this is utterly brilliant Cathy!! I must give this a go as I used to make my own wall art stencils yrs ago. I love that you can make this so personal. Thanks for sharing!

Jo Murray said...

How cool is that! Thanks for the inspiration.

bockel24 said...

great, Cathy!