What is art journalling all about and what you should know before you start an art journal. These are questions I asked myself and the wide web before I started. And the more I was searching for answers, the harder it seemed to find them. But it can’t be that hard, I thought. Well, I came to some conclusions after watching hundreds of videos and reading dozens of blogs on art journalling.
How I got into art journalling
A while ago I saw some beautiful art journal pages on Pinterest and thought to myself – wow, that is awesome! And there were so many different styles, different looks, sizes and everything! I felt like a little child in a shop full of sweets and toys! I didn’t really know what to look at – all so interesting, so pretty. So I dove into the internet for the answer – what is art journalling?
>> Please note that *This page might contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy here <<
What is art journalling?
It’s a form of artistic expression – not on a canvas, not on a wall, not to be framed etc. but in a notebook, to play around. Rules? You make them. You decide what media to use, what to draw or paint, whether to add any words or not – it’s all your choice. At least that’s my definition of art journalling and I will stick to it. This gives me the FREEDOM to use all kinds of paints and pens. I can use die cuts if I want. I can add a bit of torn paper because I like the pattern or image. I can try out how different things work together – or find out they actually don’t. But it is FUN – and that what counts.
No limits to what you can use
Literally. Of course, some things will not work the way you want, but it’s not the end of the world, it’s just an experiment. If things don’t go as you wanted them to – leave it for later and start a new page or cover it with gesso and work over that again. Simple really. No particular set of rules telling what can or can’t be used – an absolute freedom of mixing and matching things that make you feel happy.
Idea no. 1 – art journal page urban style
So I made my first art journal page around December 2017 (that would be about 6 months ago). I got a big jar of gesso and my basic set of acrylic paints and started playing. And here is what I made – my very first art journal page:
I used some unbranded stamps for the houses and stamps I received from a friend (I don’t know the makes of them) but that’s pretty much how I made this page. The acrylic paint I used was an inexpensive one as I thought I don’t need to spend a fortune on supplies just to see if I like it. I enhanced the texture with golden paint (dry brush technique).
Idea no. 2 – butterflies and dolls
I enjoyed making the first one so much I thought I wanted to play some more. And I did!
This time I used some rubber stamps from Santoro Gorjuss series, which I stamped on paper, coloured, cut out and glued onto the page. For the words I used unbranded stamps as well and stamped them with golden ink. I wasn’t happy with the result as they were very pale so I ran over them with my favourite golden marker from Edding – as it gives that real metallic look. And you know why I did that? Because I can! It is my journal and I do what I want with it.
Idea no. 3 – clocks, cogs and time themed
This one was a bit more about experimenting – can I use Deco Mache decoupage papers? Or a photograph? I can use both! The photo is an image found ages go I don’t remember where. The papers are First Edition Deco Mache Decoupage papers. I also used Tim Holtz Sizzix Bigz Wall Clock Die and some gear dies and stamps (unbranded). And the words are Tim Holtz Idea-ology Chitchat stickers. This was a real fun art journalling process, which took a few attempts but in the end I liked the copper looking, a bit rusty mix.
Here you can see my play with texture – not a huge thing, this texture can be easily achieved with gesso or acrylic paint itself. Add a little dry brushed gold and it looks great!
Idea no. 4 – more dolls, different way
I think it’s one of my favourite pages for several reason. First, I really like how bright and vivid the colours look. Second, I really love this Santoro Gorjuss stamp and the word stamps from 7gypsies.
There are many other stamps used here but – to be honest – I can’t remember where they are from. I didn’t note down what I used when I made it and I can only name some of the supplies. But you can use whatever you have – it is all up to you.
Idea no. 5 – traveller style
This was an absolute improvisation with some stickers , black, white and red ink. I used unbranded stamps and did some doodling. A 100% free play. Real fun! Great way to start with – pick some stamps you like, pick some stickers that might match the theme, get a bit messy and enjoy!
Idea no. 6 – pretty in pink
Santoro Gorjuss stamp again – I couldn’t resist – I had this image stamped and coloured and the only thing that was missing was the background. This one I made with Distess Oxides. And I used a piece of patterned vinyl with some washi tape for the corner bit. I stamped some of the flowers, I doodled the rest. And although pink is not my favourite colour, I think it turned out quite ok. But this time it was all about stamping and doodling 😉
Idea no. 7 – simplicity is the key – bubbles
It was a pretty simple one – hand drawn circles coloured with acrylic paints and added some washi tape as well as dry wall tape (yes! that is the net thing there). The butterflies are hand cut from washi tape from Tim Holtz and the words – my handwriting. I was practising shadowing here and it is not perfect but that is the case – it doesn’t have to be! It was fun to make and that’s what counts.
Idea no. 8 – balance of colours
This page started with trying out my paint sticks. But I wanted to add some depth to it. So I thought a checkered torn-like layer would be good. It reminded me of torn fabric. And the inner self would be the colourful burst hidden behind it. Well, imagination is a powerful device 😉 And Sharpie markers are perfect for bold drawings 🙂
Idea no. 9 – peacock
It was again all about the background. After covering the page with gesso I had a play with Distress Oxides. Then stamped the floral design and added the peacock image I had coloured and cut out (both were a magazine freebies). To add a bit of dimension I used Elegant Writer pen and words from Tim Holtz Idea-ology stickers set.
Idea no. 10 – put some colour on the texture
This one was a bit tricky and I will not tell you how I made it yet – I am going to repeat this technique and make a video on how this was made, so stay tuned 😉
Idea no. 11 – doodle flowers
Idea no. 12 – architecture and roses
This page you may have seen earlier – in this post where I show how to draw roses with Distress Oxides. You can watch my tutorial on this one 🙂
And here is what I wanted to show you the most – all these pages look OK-ish in the photos. But there is a lot of shine and sparkle to most of them, which is impossible to show in a still picture. So I prepared a short video for you to show you these pages in motion 🙂 I hope you enjoy watching this video.
Idea no. 13 – playing with circles again
I have made a few pages in a bigger journal and you may have seen them already. This one was made quite recently – and I used a few techniques for it. I called it “Fairy Dreamland”. The two little fairies are from Tonic Studios Wings and Things Die set – they are so cute!
Which page do you like most? What is your favourite? Let me know in the comments 🙂
And tell me if you have an art journal or what stops you from starting one 🙂
See you next time 🙂