Geo Papers and Projects

Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in Creative Exercises, Personal Geographies, Tutorial | 41 comments

Hello all, welcome to Day 10 of the Pre-Holiday Tutorial Blog Hop! Today we will make some Geo Papers, or papers that are painted to simulate geographical imagery.

I am map-crazy, as many of you know, and I love paste papers, so this technique was a natural for me.

Here is what you need.

Paper: I use Arches Text Wove. Any printmaking paper will work.
Sumi ink: available at most art and craft stores. A dark, black, smooth ink
Stablilo Aquarellable Black Pencil
Transparent watercolors (not opaque or gouache)
Kosher salt
Small watercolor brush
Paper towels
Spray bottle with water inside
Things that are round, to trace for circles
Anything you like to add texture

Spray your paper with spritzing, not saturating the paper
Paint a line from the top edge with a small brush dipped in sumi ink

Where the ink hits the wetter part it will feather.

Make a line perpendicular to the first line. These lines can be wiggly, just make sure they go from edge to edge, right off the paper. Make lots of lines, going both directions.

Set a round object down on the paper and trace the edge with the Stabilo pencil.

This makes those cool crop circle areas you can see from the airplane when you are flying over Kansas.

Drop the salt on the really wet areas to absorb the water and add texture.

Add more lines with the Stabilo pencil.

Use the small brush to add some irregular lines for waterways.

Add circles and lines until you are happy with it.

Lift one edge to let the wet areas run across the paper.

Now it looks like this. Let it dry completely before moving on.

When the paper is entirely dry, wipe off the salt with a dry paper towel.

Get out the watercolors. I especially love using Twinkling H2Os for this.

Paint in the pastureland, waterways and farms.

Keep adding layers until you like your new land.

You can add salt or other texture to the watercolor layers too.

This one got a little wild, but it is my own invented world so I call the shots. This paper is about 25″ wide and 20″ high, 1/2 sheet of Arches Text Wove.

The projects I made are 1) a two signature pamphlet journal. Here is a tute on that, with the geo papers on the outside of each signature. 2) I also made a box, that tute is here.

I made a small accordion to fit inside the box top and bottom. Eventually I will write a message on it to give to someone, like, “where have you been all my life?” or maybe “I have been looking everywhere for you.”

There are two more tutorials in this blog hop:
November 19: Gloria Hansen  Easy Resizing of a Digital Image
November 20: Diana Trout Furoshiko

Next week, starting on Friday, there will be a two week blog hop with giveaways, ten copies of my book. Stay tuned!


  1. Jill- you did it- again!!!

    I LOVE the map-feel and then the contrasting- pop-out-colors- and I´m so glad I bought some of those watercolors this year- from Barbara Bunke at Ljunggrens in Stockholm. I know what I´ll try this weekend- not to copy you- but with great inspiration from you!!

    Have a great Friday!!

    Tina from Sweden

  2. Jill–this is fabulous. I can’t wait to try it! I think I’ll share it with my sketch group. Awesome job. Kelli

  3. how cool is this! what a fun project and beautiful papers.

  4. Thanks again for a great tutorial, Jill! ~Hobby

  5. Wow, fantastic idea. I’ll try it for sure ! Thank you 🙂
    Donatella from the UK

  6. I just got your book yesterday and I skimmed last night (I have to do that at first with a new art book!). Man, I can NOT WAIT to do the exercises. And this tut is wonderful!

  7. wonderful fun — can’t wait to try — I have your book and it is awesome — :0)

    • Thanks Joanne! I am so glad you like it.

  8. Love the tutorial above!
    Can’t wait to try it. 🙂

    Thank you for inspiring all of us Arty Cartophiles everywhere!

    All the best,
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  9. I love this project! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  10. PS- Do you think it will work with India Ink- or does it have to be Sumi ink?

    Thank You so much for all inspiration! I will order some more of your books/magazines that I still haven´t seen 🙂

  11. I love this!!! Thank you for sharing!!

    • Thanks Norina, I love your name!

  12. Whats more fun than letting things happen? Very nice

  13. Loving this idea, thank you.

  14. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I also love maps, geography, & topography. I can’t wait to make maps of the imaginary towns in my head. Thanks again!

  15. Love the map inspired paper! I think I can do that too! I will try this weekend! Thanks Jill!

  16. Thank you for the inspiring tutorial. I’m going to give it a try.

  17. Jill – this looks like so much fun. And your book arrived last week (or so), and I can’t wait to try some of the projects. Your are doing some very cool work – as always! All the best, Lisa

    • Hey Lisa, thank you! I am so glad you like the book. Maybe I will see you one of these months….

  18. fab, fab, fab – great tute, and wonderful result!

  19. Looks like so much fun. Can’t wait to try it out. I wonder when I can fit it in?

  20. Nice work, thank you for sharing.

  21. I’m on my way to try this along w/ everyone else. Thanks a bunch

  22. Super tutorial. Can’t wait to invite friends over and try it.

  23. Looks like a lot of fun and a quick and easy way to personalize some great gifts for the holidsay. Thanks for the inpsiration and the tutorials. Fondly, Roberta

  24. Your work is beautiful and stimulating beyond words. Thank you for sharing your technique.

  25. so very fun. thanks for showing the final product, too!

  26. Thanks for this tutorial! I am anxious to try this, as I love maps, paste paper, and abstract linework, too!

  27. Love your colour combinations and the freedom of expression in your work. It inspires me to give this a try. Thanks for sharing…

  28. Jill, what kind of paint is that?

  29. this is

  30. Diana sent me over today. What a great project. Looks amazing in the end and seems like a lot of fun to do.

    • Thanks so much Seth, it is so nice to be in your company on Crescendoh. This project is messy and lots of fun, every single time. Thanks for coming by!

  31. Love this. You can see my version on my blog.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • I did see it Elizabeth, it was wonderful!

  32. Thanks for sharing…can’t wait to play!

  33. Such beautiful work!

  34. I love this tutorial, & can’t wait to try it. Thanks

  35. Unique idea! Love it! In my quest to become “looser” with my art I am looking for such inspiratio

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