Arte Es Vida

Creating A Journal To Play In by arteesvida
November 26, 2006, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Bookmaking, Creativity, Journaling, Mixed Media

The art of journaling really opened up for me once I realized that it didn’t have to be neat, tedious rows of writing my innermost thoughts, or laundry listing everything I had for dinner that week. To me, journaling is as much about art as it is about writing. Your journal is your place to express yourself and that can be hard to do with words alone! At the same time, there are some incredibly intricate art journals out there and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Remember that your first goal is to express yourself and have fun! Here are some of the basics to get you started art journaling.

Page Thickness: Regular, unlined journals work fine for art journaling, but the pages may be too thin. I often glue together 3 to 5 pages with Mod-Podge or Golden’s Acrylic Gel Medium to give myself a thicker surface to work with. This will keep paints and inks from seeping through and is cheaper than by heavy-weight paper journals! When I buy a new journal, I prep a bunch of pages in one sitting (if not all of them) so I have plenty of pages to work with when I feel inspired!

Backgrounds: Watercolors make great backgrounds for art journals. Buy an inexpensive set in the school supplies section and have fun! Watercolor washes dry quickly and can be written and painted over without smearing. On the first journal page above (“Strength”) I started with a watercolor wash over the whole page.

Painted Embellishments: Water based paints such as watercolors and acrylics make great journal embellishments! Acrylics will give you a thicker, heavier finish so they don’t work as well as watercolors for backgrounds…but don’t be afraid to mix and match! On the “Bluebonnets” journal page, I used watercolor for the road and the bluebonnet leaves, and acrylics for the lines on the road and the bluebonnet flowers. The two different media used together gives the page a lot more depth!

Collage Elements: The best sources for collage elements are ones that are not under copyright…especially if you are interested in publishing or sharing your art journals in the future. Sometimes you can find public domain images in magazines, or find images that you can alter enough to make them unrecognizable from the original (for example, individual flower images cut out of gardening catalogs). The best bet is to use your own images (such as your own photos or sketches) or images from collections that have been labeled public domain or permission free. Don’t discount using textured papers, or even small flat objects instead of images and photos….they can be a fun addition! I adhere my collage elements with either Mod-Podge or Golden’s Gel Medium, but I don’t seal over the image until I’m done writing on the page. Then I seal the whole page at once time! Any area you seal over won’t take pen and ink very well, so it is better to seal after the whole page is finished! A wonderful all-in-one source for collage techniques is the book The Crafter’s Complete Guide To Collage By Amanda Pearce. It covers paper collage, found objects, mixed media, fabric collage, three-dimensional objects, decoupage, photomontage, and computer collage. If you are interested in playing with collage, this book covers all the basics! The “strength” journal page includes a cut-out magazine word and a Rosie The Riveter image from the classic WWII government war production campain. It’s a simple example of collage on a journal page, but it gives you an idea of some of the things you can do!

Last But Not Least – The Text: You will notice that both of these journals still have regular journal text…you don’t have to give up your writing to keep an art journal! I like to use fine tipped markers that coordinate with the other colors I am using on the page. Combined with the writing, the art enhances the story. I bet you can tell, without even reading the text, what both of my journal pages are about! Next time you sit down to journal, see what you can create to help tell your story!

1 Comment so far
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I’m new in this art and I come here because I visiting a lot of blogs who speak about Art Journaling
Thank you for giving a lot of good ideas
Marie-Hélène from Spain

Comment by Marie-Hélène à madrid

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