Blank space — whether it’s in a sketchbook, on an envelope, or even on your wall, can be scary! How do you fill in that space in an elegant and intentional way? In this article, we’ll cover seven concepts that you can use to add detail and interest to your work.
We’ve all created a project at some point that just feels sparse! Whether you’re working on a sketchbook page, an envelope, or even a blank wall, it’s good to know a few artistic ways to fill in space. You can use the ideas in this article to enhance both your paper projects and your home!
1. Add an Illustrated Tile Motif
Illustrated tiles add beauty and visual interest to anything you’re working on! I’ve used it for everything from walls (see my workspace tour) to mail art and sketchbooks.
I even love using illustrated tiles to fill up space on my walls! In the timelapse video below, you can watch me finishing up a tile motif on a piece of furniture that we use as a room divider. I walk by these tiles several times a day, and they catch my eye every single time:
I currently have two illustrated tile tutorials on the TPK site:
There have been a few occasions where I’ve made a sketchbook page that’s missing something. The white background just isn’t quite right, but adding too much color will throw off the balance of the whole page. In that case, I make (extremely strong) coffee or tea, and I use it to layer on subtle color.
I especially love using my beverage to add spatters to the page. You can enhance the spatters by outlining them in black ink.
If you’re in a rush (and even if you’re not), decoupage is an amazing way to add visual interest to your pieces. Just find a subject or photo that you like, cut it out, and glue it on to whatever you’re working on.
Just a word of warning: if you plan to use decoupage on mail art, be sure to glue down the edges of your artwork very well! Otherwise, postal machines may tear the artwork off of the envelope.
Here’s what I would recommend: if you’re on Pinterest, start a board where you can “pin” your space filling ideas. Then, next time you’re stumped about how to fill in blank space, reference your board. Chances are an idea will jump right out at you!
If you have any go-tos for filling in blank space, please contribute them in the comments; I always appreciate suggestions and ideas. Thanks so much for reading, and happy creating!