Art Journals-The Basics
Getting Started in Art Journaling
Have you ever wanted to create an outlet that enables you to express yourself in mixed media, diary special things about your life, and scrapbook at the same time? Welcome to the wonderful world of art journaling.
You can create a special book that tells of a specific time in your life, your feelings and emotions, a trip or vacation-just about anything that you can possibly think of. You can art journal an event, a trip , a person or a time of your life. This is your art ! Your books can be a legacy to future generations that tells your life story or who you were.
Any technique that you can use in stamping, collaging or scrapbooking can also be used in your art journals. You can use water colors, paints, chalks and inks to give you that unique page that only starts in your imagination. You can stamp, draw, paint, zentangle or use mandalas.
This is a very relaxing way to create something special and unique. You can combine all kinds to techniques to make something that no one has created before or will create again.
Let's get started with the basics ! hopefully you will get some ideas to get started creating your own art journal !
Art Journal Themes
So now that you have decided to get started in art journaling, what is your journal going to be about? in other words, what is your theme? What is your passion or hobby?
1. Garden Journal-I love my home gardens. Mostly I am a flower person, but my husband has a few veggies that he raises.Thinks about pictures, seed packets, pictures of flowers or plants from catalogs. Lists of what you love. Your timetables during the year could also be included. Do drawings, stamping-the sky is your limit !
2. Music- If you are a musician, why note journal about your musical passion? Include programs, pieces of music, lists of the music you have played, about your classes. etc
. If you are into a band or group why not journal about them?Ticket stubs, info, programs, album info and more
3. Sports- Passionate about a specific sports team? Why not create a journal? Pictures of course, tickets to the games, and stats are all part of what you can include. Program-s and information on specific players are also options
4. Gratitude -Journaling the things that you are grateful for is an excellent way to take time to meditate on your blessings.
5. Mandalas-Why not keep your colored mandalas in a journal. Add comments on each piece and you have a lovely art journal
6. Coloring or Art Classes- I take a monthly art class, so I take my pieces and make a journal of them with the class notes
7. A Tribute Journal- Why not honor someone with a art journal all about them? It is perfect for a special birthday or anniversary. Document things about them like what they love or like, their favorite things or people, special traits, any achievements they have won. Froom your heart, they will treasure it.
8. A Dream Journal- What are your dreams? What would you like to achieve or do?What is your bucket list. This journal documents your journey through life.
9. Food & Recipes- Family recipes with the stories behind them are a great way to journal. Journal about the foods you would like to try, your favorites, and what you tried but did not like. Add clippings, old recipes that someone wrote down in the family and clippings.
10. Home Journals- This is where you keep all your ideas for your house. Clippings, magazine ideas, Pinterest ideas, you journal it all. Projects that you would like to do, pictures of before and after fixes, and hat the project cost are great to keep as you make improvements. You could add information and inventories of the things in your home, just in case.
These are just a few ideas to wet your creative juices. Just remember, you can art journal anything your heart desires
Everyone Needs A Set Of Fine Line Pens
If you are going to art journal, you need a set of fine line pens to really get started. Fine line pens give you all kinds of options on your pages. I love this set of pens. Not only can you use them for your art journals, but they are great for coloring and stamped images
What You Need To Get Started
You really don't need a lot of materials to get started in art journaling. In fact, you may have many of the supplies to get started in your home.
- An unlined art journal or book - I like to use an artists spiral bound notebook. The cover is strong and it has plenty of pages to journal. If you are planning to use a lot of watercolor techniques, you might want to consider a water color journal. The paper in these types of journals is a heavier weight paper and will take the paint and water color techniques.
- Paint (Either water color or acrylic)- You may have some paint in the house
- Brushes in different sizes
- Fine line markers or artists pens
- Colored pencils- Art journals are multi media so I really like using colored pencils too
- Glue-I prefer Modge Podge to glue little pieces of magazines and pictures
You can put together your own journal using either cardstock or water color paper but to your size. You will want to punch some holes in the paper and use some binder rings to hold your paper together. I would use cardboard or foam board for the front and back cover.
Keep a folder just for your art journals. Your folder can hold a treasure chest of materials for your art journals. You can clip [pictures from magazines, little left over embellishments from your scrapbooks, a few colorful envelopes that will enhance your pages and hold items. You can also save momentos from trips, pictures, and odds and ends of paper that you might like to use
Keeping Your Art Journal Closed
An art journal is like a scrapbook, a very full on ! You are going to find that it will not close easily. What I like to do is to add a twine or ribbon closure to my journals. Sew a button the front cover of your journal. Then add a grommet or a large eyelet to the back. Attach a piece of ribbon or string from the grommet to your and loop around your front cover button. Since I never know how thick my journal is going to be, this is the step that I do last
Start With A Background
That white paper staring back at you calls for a splash of color ! The more messy your background is the better ! Grab a brush or a marker and just let go ! Be a kid again and enjoy the process ! Mix colors ! There is no right or wrong way ! It's just your way !
Add dots ! who does not love dots ! use the end of a paint brush and add random dots where your heart leads you.
Use stencils that you may have in your stash .
Background stamps can also be used.
Let your imagination go wild!
Let your background dry before going farther
Consider A Theme
Decide what your page or layout is going to be about. It could be a quote, a thought. something that happened that day or a holiday. The pages of your journal is only limited to your imagination.
Use lettering that wanders or use your own penmanship ! Add pieces of magazines, photos ,stamped images, even pieces of coloring pages, odds and ends that you have collected. Just go with the process !
About Gel Medium
Gel mediums are perfect to add those things like tissue paper to your pages. Sometimes gel medium will cause your paper to buckle. I would suggest that you pre-tape a couple of pages together before you use get medium. Adding the gesso to the pages will also increase the strength of a page. There are several gel mediums on the market, so take a few minutes to think about which ones are right for you.
Always apply gel medium with a foam brush. If you rinse your brushes out, you can get several applications with them. You can buy then by the bag and they are very reasonable
Once a page from your journal has dried, keep a piece of wax paper between those pieces for about a week. That will allow time for the gel to cure. Otherwise your pages will "stick together"
Adding Embellishments To Your Art Journals
Because art journals are mixed media, almost anything goes when it comes to adding embellishments. This is the place where you let your imagination go wild ! The only thing that you might want to think about is not making your page too bulky or heavy. Here are some things to consider adding to your art journal ages:
Stickers...Dazzles...string....bakers twine...washi tape,,,.stamped images...fabric...pictures from magazines...chipboard pieces,,,buttons.....ribbon...tags
I'll bet you can think of more ! This is a perfect time to get out all those odds and ends that you have in your stash !
You also might want to think about personalizing them with ink markers, watercolors, and glitter
You can use water colors in your art journal, but I would suggest doing your watercolor images on watercolor paper first them gluing those elements in your journal
Acrylic Paint In Art Journaling -Tips
Yes, you actually can use acrylic paints in your art journals. You may have some paint in your craft stash. If not. you can always get some at your local craft store. They are inexpensive and there are a lot of colors to chose. Here are some tips to get you started with acrylic paints in art journaling.
- Only use a little at a time because this paint tends to dry very quickly.
- Wash your brush as you change colors. Otherwise the paint will dry quickly. The brush will be difficult to clean
- Acrylic paints can cause the pages of your journal to stick together, so place a piece of wax paper between the pages. Or dust a small amount of baby powder on your acrylic pages after the paint has totally dried.
- Texture the paint with common household items. experiment with different brushes, stamps and tools to create one of a kind pages
- Using acrylic paint over gesso will help the page be stronger
- Put a pice of wax paper under the page that you are applying acrylic paint to. That will prevent the page from "bleeding "through
Acrylic Paint With Flower Background
Using Gesso On Art Journals
Gesso is a great base for some of your art journal pages or your covers. You can use it to cover all or part of your pages. You can use a small amount to highlight words or graphics on a darker background. Gesso is a white type of paint that can be found in any art supply store
Pages With Gesso
Tea Staining Your Art Journal Pages
Tea staining is another technique that you can use to create very unique pages It's easy to do and makes a lovely retro journal page.
What You Need
Your journal or loose pages
- Tea bags or loose tea or instant tea
- Small amount of water
- A shallow pan
- Some brushes or sponges
- Some wax paper, aluminum foil or plastic wrap
- Paper towels
Separate the pages from your other pages. Place either wax paper, aluminum foil or plastic wrap below the pages of those you are staining to prevent the other pages from getting wet. Brew your tea and allow it to cool a bit. Apply the tea by either dipping the paper into the tea, or brushing it onto the paper. Soak a bit of the water from the paper and allow to dry.
- To prevent other pages from getting wet, place a couple of sheets of wax paper blow each page as you stain them. If you are using hot tea stain, then use a heat resistant material like aluminum foil or plastic wrap to protect other pages
- You can apply the tea with a regular brush, a foam brush, a sponge or a toothbrush. You can even use the tea bag itself as a brush if it's not too hot
- If your pages a loose, you can submerge them in a tea bag bath
- Use loose tea to create a variegated effect. Color the page with the tea infusion and leave the leaves on the paper to create a variegated effect
- Your tea stained pages may be lighter than you think depending on the strength of the brew that you made. You may want to re dye it a second day to get a richer color.
Finger Painting- Perfect Art Journal Technique
Get a unique background by applying any paint or ink with your fingers, It blends the colors perfectly and you can get very artistic effects
One Thing You Really Need
Modge Podge is my glue of choice for art journals. It helps what ever paper ephemera that you want to add to your pages. It actually strengthens your pages. It also blends the paper materials into the paper which leaves less bulk than other glues
It's also perfect to use to glue your pages together. I like to use a brayer to make the pages as "smooth" as possible. But don't worry if you get a few wrinkles. It makes your pages look like they are old paper, especially if you add some distress ink on the wrinkles
More Art Journal Ideas
- Balzer Designs: Art Journal Every Day: Cutting Lace Pages
If you're new to Art Journal Every Day, there is a short introduction here. All of the previous posts can be found archived here. Remember, it's just ten minutes of nourishing your creative self every day! No need to finish...
Rip A few Pages From Your Journal
Because you will be adding additional material to your pages, you will want to tear a few pages to give room to the rest of your art. You can take the torn out pages and modge podge them to other ones still in the book to strengthen the pages that you may be adding paint or wet techniques to
Consider Adding Some Thread To Your Pages
Sewing techniques add some new dimension to your art journal pages. I especially like the sew easy system to add those elements especially in a book with pre-bound pages. You could use a sewing machine but it might be difficult with bound pages. With a loose sheet art journal you could easily add some stiches. Consider a border or some fancy stitching to highlight some art work. You can also get some stamps that actually stamp a stitch like design. It's your choice !
Using Magazines On Your Art Journal Pages
Before you throw out any magazines. Check out the pictures, sayings, titles or anything that has potential to use in your journal. I keep mine in a file that I can refer to if I am doing a collage or want to add a bit of text to my pages
Add A Border To Your Pages
I love using washi tape to add a colorful border to my pages, but there are also other things you could use. Strips of patterned or solid paper works just fine, Really nice if you use scissors that cut with designer edges. Ribbon will also work. Think about a glitter border too. You can edge completely around your page or only on one side. There are no rights or wrongs or rules. It's your call
Add A Pocket To Your Journal Pages
Add a pocket to your journal pages. Either make a pocket or glue an envelope to your page. It's perfect to tuck in little memorabilia, a picture or some jounaling notes
Art Journaling Tips
Remember your art journal is your expression of what you are feeling. You don't have to be a master artist to create one. Here are a few tips to help you along the way
- Select something with a simple shape. You can always add details later
- Work on something that you like rather than what someone else would like
- Draw one thing-one cup, one flower, one shape
- Add a border or frame to your page
- Add dimension to your page
- Use scribbles and doodles
- Add lots of color-don't be afraid of color
Add Labels Of Your Favorite Things
Why not consider adding the labels of your favorite wines, candies or any other products that are your favorites
Need More Inspiration?
- More Splattered Paint Art Ideas and Tips - My Flower Journal
More splattered paint art ideas and tips including a wheat field, wild flowers and a sunset all done in acrylic paint. No drawing skills needed!
- The Blank Page: Tips for Starting Your Art Journal - Jennie Moraitis
Here are a bunch of tips for starting your art journal that you can try out immediately. No more fear of the blank page here! :)
- Daisy Yellow
How to Start an Art Journal, Huge treasury of information and ideas on art journals
A Final Thought
Remember, art journaling is not about perfection, it's about the experience. It's about having fun with all kinds of supplies. It's about telling your story in your way ! It's about sharing your thoughts and ideas with color and thought. It's about finding the creative part of your personality and expressing it in a way that only you can do. It's a craft that you can do for your own enjoyment or you can enjoy as a together project with your family. I wish you well on your journey !
Share Your Thoughts On Art Journaling
We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and tips on art journals.