Art Journaling for Beginners
Written By: Jaclyn Popola
An art journal is a type of altered book that is created using mixed media (paint, pens, crayons, rubber stamps) and ephemera (magazine clippings, ticket stubs, matchbooks) to turn a regular book into an exclamation of inspiration. The beauty of art journaling is that it's much cheaper than scrapbooking because virtually anything can be used as an art journaling tool. Most supplies can be found around the house, including the journal itself. If you don't want to go out and spend $15-$20 on a brand new Moleskine journal (Moleskine is the current favorite among art journalers), find a sketchbook or journal you already own that only has a few pages written on and, if you can't design around them, tear them out and start fresh. Another option is old books. Thrift shops and flea markets usually sell hardcover books for less than $1, and be on the lookout for libraries giving away their old books to make room for new ones. It's okay that the pages are printed on, you're going to be covering them with your own writing and ephemera anyway. Thrift shops and flea markets can also be great for finding photography, poetry and children's picture books, all of which are great for cutting up and using in your journaling.
Invest in some good archival ink pens like the Zig Millenniums from EK Success and use these to write your entries with. They come five to a pack and each pen has a different thickness nib. Paint Pens by Decocolor come in a variety of colors and are great for writing on thick, porous surfaces and hard book covers.
Use ModPodge or another similar, archival-safe adhesive to glue your photographs and magazine cut-outs onto the pages. Krazy Glue also works wonders, especially if you're glueing something thick or heavy.
Place torn masking tape around the edges of a photograph to create a border, then write a caption or quote on the tape itself. Rubber stamps in the shape of letters are fun to use to create titles or make a certain word pop out at you. Stamping ink is a great tool as well--ink the edges of photos, cut-outs, or even the page itself to create a distressed border. Altered journals are supposed to look aged, so never cut with scissors when you could tear with your hands!
Another fun toy is a label maker--I prefer the older models like the Label Buddy from DYMO which retails for $7.99. This website offers a quick tool to help make your own tapewriter labels: http://www.acme.com/labelmaker/
I have seen some art journalers who write entire entries using a label maker; others just like to use it for a title, quote or a caption.
Other items that make great ephemera are ticket stubs, brochures, clothing tags, matchbooks, glitter, fibers, polaroids, negative strips from a developed roll of film, napkins, ribbon, metal charms, beads and much, much more.
If you're having trouble getting started, take a look at the links I've listed below to see some amazing examples of art journaling. "The Creative Journal" by Lucia Capacchione is an invaluable tool. I also recommend reading anything by Sabrina Ward Harrison or Dan Eldon. There are no limits in this land of creativity, so find a cozy spot with lots of light, put on some music, spread your supplies out in front of you and let your imagination take flight!