By Valerie Matyas
I will be honest; when I first heard of the napkin technique in 2015 I was more than a bit skeptical. Why in the world would I want to add a napkin to my journal? Turns out, the right napkin, with the right image, can inspire a page of creative reflection based on the text. Your creative time spent in Scripture gives you a visual to help you remember, and serves as a catalyst to reach out and share the story with others.
The opening pages of Ponder Anew: A Hymn Journal for Trust and Confidence, offered a fantastic landing space for an herb garden themed napkin I had in my slowly growing napkin stash. Finding napkins is fairly easy: you can acquire decorative napkins inexpensively from dollar stores or discount party stores. Once I began seeing the potential of napkins as mini theological object lessons, it didn’t take long before I began tucking my unused napkin from Ladies Aid and LWML church events discreetly in my purse (yes, I am “that lady”) all in joyful excitement to connect the printed images to Scripture, hymn lyrics, and theological texts.
For the napkin technique you will need a decorative napkin, a small flat paintbrush, and clear gesso. Gesso (pronounced with a “J”) is kind of like a thin paint that dries hard to prepare canvases for acrylic paint.)
Gesso comes packaged in a tube, tub, or bottle depending on the brand. It can be found on Amazon or in stores that sell art supplies. I find clear gesso to be a bit more difficult to find in stores than white or black, and you definitely want clear, so I would recommend looking on Amazon. Because gesso can be hard on paint brushes, it is a good practice to take special care to wash your paint brush with warm water immediately after each use.
I enjoy seeing all of your posts in the Ponder Anew Pop Up Group. Here are a couple of images from our group that used napkins as part of their creative time with God’s Word.
We can add more as we go, but no need to hurry or rush to post your own napkin technique photos; sometimes it takes awhile to find that unique napkin that reflects the text. When the right napkin falls in your proverbial (or literal) lap, it’s quite the thrill!
Simply add this tutorial to your growing skill set. Whether we are drawing, painting, collaging, lettering, or napkin-ing it is a joy to take a next step with you on this Hymn Journal journey!
Blessings on your week!
Lead Illustrator, Ponder Anew
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