Visual diary: tools and techniques
Starting a visual diary can be challenging
Just do it!
Some good advice, but what do you need to get started?
Let me show you sogoodme of my supplies, tell you what I like and why, and help you to start on your own art journal.
What you need to start a visual journal is something to write/draw with and something to write/scribble/sketch on.
Image: Jan T
What you need
to start a visual journal
is something to write with and
something to write on
Start with a book
Or some scrap paper
A journal usually implies a book with nice lined pages to write in, but that's not always what a journal is.
You can make your own journal from pages that you staple, or stitch, or glue, or tape together. The pages can be all the same size, or many different sizes. They can be all the same type of paper, or many different types.
Another way to keep a journal is touse single pages which you keep in a nice (decorated) box. This is how the participants of Life Book, an online art journalling course, keep their weekly lessons.
Journals can be altered books, which is what I used for my travel journal when we were living in the Winnebago.
Your visual diary (journal) is yours - and it can be:
- as simple or
- as elaborate as you want it to be
You could use an old book
(called an altered book)
There are many books and online courses on using old books to use as journals.
The basic idea is that you remove some pages to allow for the extra content you will paste in, and you glue in paper, memory aids, and gesso over the old writing so you can add your own writing.
Altered book information - from Amazon
I don't know how I would manage without this one!
When I bought this book, I invited my friend Annie to come and stay for a few days and play with the concepts in the book. We had a wonderful time and made some gorgeous example pages in a couple of old books.
Although the idea behind Altered Books Workshop is not to make visual diaries, there is excellent information about how to prepare a book for altering. I am sure you will really like this book.
This journal was once an index book
For my past students' contact details
I covered the outside with used gift wrap, glued graph paper and other plain paper scraps over the addresses, and I used it for an online course I was taking in art journal lettering.
Image: Jan T
Lots different from the original book
See the index tabs on the right of the page?
I changed the tabs to reflect the numbers of the lessons in the lettering course.
Now that I have more experience in art journals, I would paste stickers over the tabs to make them prettier.
See the index tabs on the right of the page? I changed the tabs to reflect the numbers of the lessons in the lettering course.
Some ideas for you
To write in your visual diary
you need pens and markers
Mine are many, as I've been collecting pens and markers for many years.
You need some fine, some medium, some thick, some really thick.
Black, colours, glittery...
Pencils, watercolour pencils, watercolours...
Brushes, water brush...
Love my Tombows!
What are Tombow brush pens?
From the manufacturer:
Tombow Dual Brush Pens have two tips — a flexible brush tip and a fine-point, hard nylon tip. Both tips are fed from the same ink reservoir ensuring exact color match. Tombow's odorless waterbased inks blend to create any color desired.
With the flexible nylon fiber brush tip, you can achieve fine, medium, or boldbrush strokes simply by changing the pressure on the point. The resilient tip springs back to hold its shape, stroke after stroke.
With the hard nylon tip, you can create consistent lines, tight drawings, borders, copy markings, fine lettering, and more.
Tips can be dipped in water to create subtle color washes. They're ideal for use with rubber stamps.
Tombow Dual Brush Pens are 7¾" long (20 cm) with color-coded caps for quick selection. The brush nib and hard nib are at opposite ends, and the barrel's anti-roll design is perfect for busy artists. The pens are odorless, use non toxic inks or pigments, and are acid-free.
Wish I had all these
Only about 12 in my kit, but I will have to add this to my Santa wish list.
How to use brush tip markers - in your visual journal
Pitt pens from Faber Castell - used for the lettering here
More ways with felt tipped pens
I used a water brush to 'paint' with my watercolour pencils - in the background of this Letter Love page
Other things that you can use in your journal
- Glue sticks
- Double sided tape
- Fancy washi tapes or duct tape
- Hairdryer to dry wet pages more quickly
- Gel medium
Paste stuff into your visual diary
Glue stick was used to add - this painted page into my letter loved journal
Adding ephemera to your visual diary - (ephemera is collected bits like tickets, postcards...)
Using stencils to decorate journal pages - tips and tricks
Gesso tips for art journals - why and how
Buy your gesso (black or white) - from Amazon
My new art journal
I have used glue, watercolour, acrylics, Copics, Tombows, cheap felt tipped pens, Inktense pencils, and more.
All my pagesvare so beautifully flat and no bleed through.
Overwhelmed with choices?
Try using a starter kit
When you want to jumpstart your visual diary, you could start with a kit.
These authors have prepared ideas, books, pens and other great stuff to get your journal adventure started quickly.
Some great links for you - on visual journals
© 2012 Jan T Urquhart Baillie