I have wanted to have a go at art journaling for some time, especially after seeing some of Holly’s beautiful art journals in the gallery:
Aren’t they wonderful? In addition, we now have an art journaling category in the DigiChick gallery (you can take a look here), as well as an art journaling monthly challenge, so what better incentive to learn how to do this myself?!!!!
I’m hoping some of you will join in with me on this journey so with this in mind, this is part 1 of Art Journaling for Beginners!!! The aim is to post at least once a month with a new art journal page using different techniques and tools each time. Of course, since I love getting messy with distress inks, glue and all sorts, I’ve gone for a hybrid art journal, mixing and matching digital products with real live “get your hands dirty” products!!! So without further ado, let’s make a start……
You don’t need many expensive art or craft materials. The chances are you may already have several items in your home, especially if you have young children. Here are a few things you may want to use:
- An art journal or notebook (and you can also make one yourself as you will see below!) or you could even use paper (a fairly heavy weight one would be better though);
- Gesso to help bind the paints to the journal/paper. If you don’t have any gesso (it is quite expensive here in the UK) then you could just use acrylic paints (gesso is apparently a mix of acrylic paint and glue);
- Glue – I used PVA glue, or you could use modge podge, Elmer’s glue, even a Pritt stick (I’m not sure what the equivalent of this is in the USA);
- Paints of some sort – acrylic, oils, watercolour, etc.;
- Inks (what better excuse to get out your Tim Holtz distress inks or re-inkers?); and
- Craft tools – the basics would be a craft mat, scissors, craft knife but you could also spend a small fortune investing in all sorts of tools and equipment!
In addition, you can use digital kits and the one I used for this blog post is Free Spirit by Kimeric Kreations:
This kit was designed with art journaling in mind and is perfect for hybrid items as many of the elements are very easy to cut out by hand. I love the colours and those big, bold flowers, and whilst I didn’t use any of these for my first page, I know I will be in future pages ;).
Since I had never done anything like this before, I did not want to spend a small fortune buying one of those amazing art journals that are available online and in craft shops. Whilst I am firmly of the opinion that there is no right or wrong way to do things as far as art journaling is concerned, I decided to keep things cheap and cheerful to start with. What better way to start than by using some of that junk mail that lands on our doorstep on a regular basis?
Of course, the mail I used is not, strictly speaking, junk mail, since it was advising me of forthcoming courses (I’m an accountant in real life 😉 ) but I can obtain this information on the internet so decided the course brochure was an ideal starting point. It was good quality paper, fairly heavy and so would stand up to some misuse ;).
The first thing to do was to trim it down in order to make the journal. I wanted a relatively small (A6 size (4.1″ by 5.8″)) journal, so folded the brochure in half:
I then trimmed the brochure down the original side to get rid of the join:
I actually found that the folded brochure was too thick to trim in one go, so I ended up opening it up and trimming down the long side instead:
I then folded it in half again and stapled down the new side to keep the journal together:
Then it was a case of getting out the gesso:
This is a primer, very similar to white acrylic paint only thinner, and it dries hard. It prepares the surface for painting and adds texture. In other words, it gives the paint something to adhere to as often, with glossy or shiny paper, the paint does not stick well to the paper. If you don’t have any gesso, then why not try acrylic or oil paints to see how they work. Like I say, I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to do things in art journaling and mixed media, it’s all about having a go and expressing yourself!
As you can see, the gesso is thick enough to cover most things including solid black background:
I could have put another layer of gesso on but since I was going to paint on top of this, there didn’t seem to be much point. I then waited for the gesso to dry. You can always use a heat gun to dry it more quickly if you are short of time.
To paint the journal cover, I used my Stampin’ Up! re-inkers. These are small bottles of ink used to re-ink stamp pads. Unfortunately, I didn’t make a note of the colours I used but I think I used Daffodil Delight, Coastal Cabana and Strawberry Slush. I just added a few drops of each colour onto a heat and stick mat (although you could use an acrylic block, an acetate slide or even a kitchen plate if you don’t have a heat and stick mat!). Then I sprayed water over the ink drops (you can just about make out the fine mist of water on the photograph below):
I then placed the journal cover (the gesso’d side) face down onto the ink and water drops and smooshed it around a bit:
I must admit, at this point, I began to get a bit worried as the colours seemed really bright. I never intended for them to be quite so startling! However, I decided to persevere, kept smooshing the cover down onto the inks and this is how it ended up (before drying):
As you can see, at this point the colours were still very bright but just look at how they changed when dry:
What a difference a day makes, eh?!!!! The colours were much softer, more like the effect I was aiming for.
You can see that I did miss some parts of the cover as there were a few solid white patches. However, I wasn’t too fussed about this as I knew I would end up covering this up with lace since I wanted to hide the staples too.
I then used a Tim Holtz stencil to add distress paint to the cover:
All you need to do with stencils is place them where you want the pattern to be and then cover the stencil with the paint (or texture paste, or gesso or whatever you are using….):
I used Tim Holtz/Ranger distress paint (old paint) and this is how it turned out before drying:
As you can see, it still looks a bit messy and wet! However, like the ink, this actually dried lighter:
It gave a faded/grungy look with splodgy lines. Well I couldn’t stop there, could I?!!! I had some unused texture paste that I had bought months ago that had been sitting in a drawer doing nothing, so I decided to get that out since I had never even opened the jar.
This time, instead of a bought stencil, I created one from some punched paper. I used one of the new Stampin’ Up! punches, the confetti star punch, to create a border around a sheet of paper. Then just placed this on the cover and added the texture paste using a palette knife. You could use your fingers or even a thin piece of heavy weight card or card stock to smear the texture paste on if you have no palette knife.
Before I finished the cover, I added another row of stars on the left hand side near the edge as I decided that having the glitter stars in the middle of the page looked ridiculous 😉 . The good thing about art journaling is that you can add stuff, change things around, repaint, add more texture, tear bits off, all sorts in fact and who is to say that you didn’t mean for your final project to end up that way anyway?
I then added some embellishments from the Free Spirit kit. All I did was print them on paper (a fairly heavy paper, not just plain copy paper) and use some sharp scissors to cut them out:
Of course, I didn’t quite manage to cut them out in one piece, but hey, who is going to notice that since I managed to adhere them onto the cover to (almost) successfully cover the cut stem! You can see the other layer of texture paste here and the lace I added to my stash, along with a title to the cover using an alphabet stamp set (Stampin’ Up! of course 😉 ):
Overall, I was really pleased with my first attempt at art journaling. If you have never had a go at art journaling either, then why not try your hand at it and see what you come up with? I would love it if you posted your art journaling in the gallery, just leave a comment below with your link to the gallery.
I’ll be back with my second attempt at art journaling as soon as I can escape from the mounds of work that is calling my name!!! 😉 In the meantime, have fun getting messy!!!
Other Articles by Lynn:
- Simply Sunday - quick and easy bookmarks - February 26th, 2017
- Simply Sunday - 2017 desktop calendar - January 1st, 2017
- Simply Sunday: basic album - September 4th, 2016
- Listen to the Music album - August 7th, 2016
- Fun in the sun album - June 28th, 2016